by Lisa Baltes
Did you know that more than 43% of cyberattacks are targeting small businesses? However, most entrepreneurs don't realize this threat - why would someone attack a local skate shop when they could hack Amazon instead? Well, Amazon, like any other big player, spends a fortune on cybersecurity, whereas a small shop is easy to crack. Low-level cybercrime is not often prosecuted, so the chances of getting away with it are pretty high.
Most SMBs are not prepared to respond to such an incident and do not know tools or best practices that can be used to protect against common threats. Even if they see the risk of being attacked, the lack of financial resources, time, technology, or knowledge is a real challenge.
Identity theft, fraud, malware, phishing, spamming, spyware, trojans, and viruses - these are only a few examples of risks in the world wide web. Cyber attacks can damage your reputation, credibility, and trustworthiness, which sooner or later results in loss of sales.
Is it naive to think that cybercrime can be prevented? No, in fact, the majority of cyber attacks can be easily avoided. Know what you have and update your defenses:
- Beyond simple passwords: You've probably heard this a thousand times, but I'll tell you again - it all starts with strong passwords. The dark web is full of programs and lists of commonly used passwords to hack systems within minutes. One way to better secure your data is 2-step verification or multi-factor authentication, where you get a verification code e.g. via SMS.
- Prevent phishing and malware: Falling victim to costly malware and phishing attacks can be difficult to survive especially for small businesses. With an infected system, you are likely to lose revenue and data, resulting in expensive recovery costs and reputation damage. Therefore, anti-virus programs and ad-blockers should be at the forefront of your defense.
- Backup and recover: Ransomware encrypts your data and attackers then demand disproportionately high sums of money in return. Offline backups and backup operating systems secure your files externally.
- Protect your email and reputation: Protecting your brand is part of your success. Always look out that others are not pretending to be you e.g. on social media. Implementations such as DMARC help to protect your email.
The Global Cyber Alliance Toolkit
The Global Cyber Alliance is an international non-profit organization dedicated to confronting systemic cyber risks. Its concrete solutions reduce cybercrime and are freely available for any business or individual to use.
The GCA Toolkit helps you improve your cyber protection and can reduce cyber risk by 85%. Available in 5 languages, it consists of six toolboxes, introduction videos, free tools, and additional resources to complement your existing website security. The toolkit provides a guided experience using video material, a learning portal with mini-courses, and community forums.
Systems can be hacked, passwords can be cracked - as long as companies operate in an online space, they will be vulnerable. However, in just a few steps you can significantly reduce the risk of becoming a victim of cyberattacks. Free and effective tools like the toolkit offered by the Global Cyber Alliance, help you take immediate action to reduce your cyber risk today.