By John Sileo –
On August 12, 2003, as I was just sitting down to a tea party with my daughters and their stuffed animals, the doorbell rang. Standing there when I opened the door was a big, burly special agent from the economic crimes unit at the district attorney’s office—ready to issue a subpoena for my arrest. In a calm but ominous voice, he told me I was going to be charged for electronically embezzling (hacking) $298,000 from customers of my small software company, and that the DA’s office had enough digital DNA to put me in jail for a decade.
I was the victim of cyber crime, and I should have known better. You see, earlier that year my identity was stolen and sold to a woman in Florida. This woman purchased a home, committed a number of crimes, drained my bank accounts and filed for bankruptcy—all in my name. I learned all of this one day at the bank, right before I was escorted out by security guards.
The experience of losing my money, time and dignity motivated me to protect my personal information assets with a vengeance. Unfortunately, I didn’t apply my newfound cyber vigilance to my professional life, which is how I ended up standing on my front step holding a tiny teacup and shaking like a leaf. (more…)
With a whopping 30.2 million small businesses in the U.S, it’s no surprise they make up 99.9% of all United States businesses. Owning and running a business comes with a lot of added responsibility, one being the safety of employees — cyber safety included. With so many cyber threats running in the background of devices and the Internet, how can you keep your small business safe? Here are some steps to start the process.
Protect all devices
As companies hire, grow and expand, the use of devices is essential. Company devices should be properly protected before being actively used by employees. Plan to update all devices accordingly, to keep all systems working properly and efficiently use. Never forget to download antivirus software to help block any threats that can infiltrate your business. Viruses aren’t the only criminal making its way to your devices. Some other threats include: malware, ransomware, adware, pharming, phishing, and many more.
According to Candid Wueest, Principal Threat Researcher, Security Technology & Response team (STAR), Symantec Corporation, the warning signs of viruses are next to none: “Unless it is a ransomware threat that encrypts all your files, there are often no apparent clues that a computer is infected with malware. Some indications might be a 100% workload of the CPU or strange pop-up messages, but in most cases the user will only notice the consequences when people complain about strange emails, unusual logins or fraudulent transactions on payment cards.” (more…)
By Linsey Knerl –
Most consumers today have been a victim of theft. While not everyone has had the harrowing experience of a home burglary or stolen car, a compromised email password or Social Security number has affected almost everyone. The FCC reports the theft of digital information has surpassed that of physical theft in the U.S. to become the most rampant type of fraud today.
As a small business owner, your risk is even greater. Any commercial task you conduct through the internet is especially prone to exposing your customers to this often-devastating criminal activity. How then, should a responsible company approach cybersecurity? Here are some of the best practices that wise entrepreneurs are implementing today. (more…)
By Eric Rosenberg
Identity theft impacts more than 17 million Americans per year, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, and businesses are not immune. The same havoc that identity thieves cause for individuals can harm a business’s finances and credit history. And, unlike individuals, when a business is attacked it could threaten the livelihood of many employees and customers who rely on the company. If you want to avoid identity theft for your business, follow these seven steps.
1. Switch to Digital Statements
Mail theft is a simple but common entry point for bad guys looking to steal a business’s information. Bank statements, credit card bills, human resources files, and other mail can be used to attack the business or others. To end susceptibility of mail theft, turn off the mail. (more…)
By Hanna Burmeister, Michigan SBDC
It’d be difficult to find a business today that doesn’t use at least one computer-based or online system. With online cloud-based services available for anything from accounting to file sharing, it’s no wonder that small businesses are adopting (and inventing) these new technologies. However, as technology gets smarter, so do hackers.
Though cyber attacks on large companies like Target or Home Depot may make headlines, hackers are increasingly targeting small businesses. Unfortunately, most small businesses are unaware of cyber security threats, leaving them especially vulnerable.
In order to better understand small business cyber security, let’s start by investigating five common cyber security myths:
1. Hackers only target large companies.
Unfortunately, small businesses make excellent targets for hackers. Most small businesses don’t have the resources to invest in heavy-duty security measures, but still possess valuable information. Additionally, many small businesses are simply unaware of cyber security risks and how to mitigate them. Hackers are a real threat to small businesses, and developing a cyber security strategy is incredibly important no matter a business’ size. (more…)