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Don't let hackers take down your business

Cyber criminals exist - not in Russia or in some far-off locale - but right in your business's backyard. The criminal threat is real, and if you're not protecting your business you could be in danger of significant data and financial loss. In Seattle, more than 50 small- and medium-sized businesses were hacked between 2008 and 2010 resulting in $3 million in company damages, including damages to employees and customers.
Keep reading to learn how to spot a threat, and how to ensure your business isn't destroyed by cyber criminals.

How cyber criminals work

Cyber criminals use programs to hack passwords. A single weak password could result in a massive security breach. Inc.com reports that hackers use graphics cards, valued at just $300, to generate 420 billion simple password combinations in a single minute.

Imagine that - a criminal can take down your business to the tune of millions of dollars with only a $300 investment. That means, anyone at any time can and will become a hacker. You can protect yourself by demanding more complicated passwords. 20-character passwords are your best defense, and encourage passwords that aren't words, but rather "gibberish" that includes special characters, such as exclamation points and hashtags.

Hackers also use malware and phishing schemes to infiltrate businesses. Malware is software designed to record keystrokes, capture passwords, and gather data. If you're storing your data on an internal hard drive, make sure you back it all up (preferably twice - once to the cloud and once to an internal source). Hackers have a tendency to wipe systems clean once they've stolen all the information they want.

Your best defence against malware breaches is good security in the form of firewalls and virus protection. Unfortunately, malware attacks aren't specific to internal data storage. Hackers are able to infect cloud storage with malware as well, so Internet security is of the utmost importance.

Your best defense against phishing schemes is education. Train your employees, so they can recognise spam emails. Phishing emails may look like legitimate business emails, but they're really infectious links designed to steal information. Ensure you're subscribed to a high-quality anti-spam filter, and virus protection on your web browsers and email accounts. And, make sure your employees understand how to spot these schemes, and report any instance of phishing.

IT security is fundamental

Does your IT department truly understand how important it is to protect your company? If not, you may want to consider additional training or outsourcing the duties. Here's some securities your IT department is responsible for:
  • Locking your network: wardriving is when hackers drive around communities looking for unprotected Wi-Fi networks. Make sure your IT department understands the importance of a fully encrypted Wi-Fi network, and ensures that only the most trustworthy employees have the passwords to enter a network.
  • Installing security programs - your IT network should have installed the very best in cloud security, anti-hacking security, and antivirus and anti-malware software. These are your absolute best defences against hacking.
  • Around-the-clock security - a breach can take place day or night. You may want to ask your IT department to hire a third-party internet-based-security vendor to handle your security when the office is closed for the evening. Third-party companies are always monitoring and will alert you or your IT department the very second a hacking attempt occurs.
Remember, 80 percent of successful cyber attacks are the result of a weak password. Everyone in your business should be using a unique password that is difficult to crack. Cyber criminals are notoriously cruel, and they will wreak havoc on your business without mercy. Don't end up a victim; instead, take your security into your own hands.

1 Dec 2015 11:12

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About Boris Dzhingarov

Boris Dzhingarov graduated UNWE with a major in marketing. He is the CEO of ESBO ltd brand mentioning agency. He writes for several online sites such as Tech.co, Semrush.com, Tweakyourbiz.com, Socialnomics.net. Boris is the founder of MonetaryLibrary.com and cryptoext.com.




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