When the world goes sideways, concerns spike about cybersecurity. Events like invasions, political unrest or pandemics leave everyone from governments and corporations to individuals and small businesses vulnerable to cyber attacks.
Some of the top ways cyber attacks occur are through phishing and malware. Although some of these attacks are targeted, most are shoot-and-spray assaults, spreading emails, texts, and social media posts to multiple destinations. For small businesses, NerdsToGo is your go-to team to be proactive and establish a layered defense to minimize the threat of attacks. We provide multiple layers of cyber attack protection from firewalls to end-point security that guards, monitors, and helps with intrusions of all kinds.
The Risks of Phishing to Small Businesses
More often than not, security breaches start with phishing because hackers believe email recipients don’t know about cybersecurity or take the time to closely examine emails. And, they are proven right. According to Wired, as many as 91% of all security breaches get their start from some form of phishing attempt. What this means is someone in cyberspace blasts out malicious emails that are sent widely to random emails or are more targeted because they look like they are from trusted contacts–this latter approach is called spear-phishing. The phishers are trying to bait you into clicking the email to drive you to a malicious website, link you to malware, or otherwise attempt to filch data from you. Businesses often find that their employees were duped into entering their corporate username and password into a malicious site. This then triggers malicious activities like data theft or leveraging that user’s mailbox for additional phishing activity.
Stealing data can mean anything from snatching personal information–including CEO or owner data for spoofing the business–to snagging account numbers that drain your business of assets. This data loss can seriously damage your business, your reputation, and most importantly your bottom line.
One of the most profitable ways hackers leverage phishing is to encrypt the user’s data when they click on a malicious link. They use this encryption to hold the user’s data for ransom–hence the term ransomware. The user is then forced to pay a sum of money, usually with a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, to unencrypt their data so they can access it.
“Small- and medium-sized businesses are increasingly seen as easy targets for cyber attacks because their security measures aren’t as strong as larger companies,” said Don Dally of NerdsToGo in Knoxville, TN. “Small businesses typically don’t have the people necessary to keep their PCs patched, antivirus software up-to-date or to encrypt all of their devices. Additionally, we often see small businesses rely on their internet service provider’s router as their primary firewall.”
“We’re here to help them shore up those gaps,” Dally said.
The risk to small businesses is very real according to Dally. For example, a solo CPA may be using an unencrypted laptop which risks their clients Personal Identifiable Information (PII) like Social Security numbers or Tax ID. If their device is lost or stolen, they put their clients’ data at risk.
“Educating customers about phishing is one of the many ways NerdsToGo helps businesses protect their computer system,” Dally said. “One thing we like to do is educate customers. We educate employers about things to look for in emails,” he said. Some things to stay alert to are misspellings in email addresses or strange looking links or unusual offers for such items like gift cards in the body of the email. This training, coupled with our NerdAssure security solutions, helps provide a layered approach to minimizing the risks associated with phishing.”
Another area that tends to see deficiencies is having an effective back-up strategy. Back-ups are not only a way to protect against losing data due to a disaster like a fire or an unexpected hardware failure, but it is a very effective way to recover from a ransomware incident. If the data is backed up, there is no reason to pay the ransom–you simply restore your data.
Get Assessed Today
Think of NerdsToGo’s NerdAssure cybersecurity solutions as personal bodyguards for your business. Not only do our tools protect your business, but they also continually watch out for threats like phishing and malware. Cyber attacks are with us to stay. If recent world events have you concerned about your business’ security, contact us today and have one of our talented and friendly Nerds assess your system. NerdsToGo is always ready to help you.