In a December 2014 survey by the National Small Business Association, 61% of small businesses reported being victims of a cybercrime within the past 12 months.
The average cost to recover from a cyber-attack skyrocketed from $8,699 per attack in 2013 to $20,752 per attack in 2014. And, of the businesses targeted, 68% said they’d been hacked more than once.
Experts agree, as cybercrooks become ever more sophisticated, the threat to small businesses is going to get worse before it gets better…
So what can you do to beat the bad guys?
Here are three common ploys used by hackers – and how you can fend them off:
Phishing – A really legitimate-looking e-mail urges you to click a link or open a file that triggers a malware installation on your computer.
- Best Defense: Don’t let anyone in your company open files or click links in an e-mail unless they’re certain who it came from.
Cracking Your Password – Hackers can run programs 24/7 testing password combinations. The easier your password is to guess, the more likely it is they'll crack it.
- Best Defense: Consider using a password manager that generates and stores tough-to-crack passwords. For extra security, use unique passphrases for financial accounts in case the manager gets hacked.
Drive-By Download – You visit what appears to be an innocent site; yet when you click, your device gets hacked – and you may never know it, until it’s too late.
- Best Defense: Make sure your browser is up-to-date, or use one that updates automatically, such as Firefox or Chrome. Internet Explorer users have been found to be most vulnerable to these attacks.
Unfortunately, these three examples are just a small sampling of the dozens of ever more ingenious ways cybercriminals are breaking down the doors and destroying unprepared businesses.