Let me start by saying that technology is fantastic. We shop, bank, do our taxes, and even self-diagnose our head colds without leaving the house. We play, catch up with old pals, and get news just by using our thumbs. That’s great. But there’s a downside.
See, once upon a time, if you wanted to steal something, you had to get off the couch and do it in person. You risked exposure just by going out and breaking and entering. But that’s no longer the case. Just like everything else in the modern world, the majority of crime takes place online now too.
This is bad news for business owners. It’s impossible for your business to go off the grid. Technology is an integral part of your operation. The mistake that too many make is underestimating the reach of the hacker.
When we hear about hackers, we think Wikileaks. You think that since you’re not holding state secrets, no one would bother with you. That’s just one of the myths we aim to dispel in this article.
All too often, business owners grow complacent. Small business owners fall into the trap of thinking that hackers don’t know about them. Cybercrime only takes place in big cities, right? All those Russian hackers don’t have any reason to pay attention to anyone in any small Midwestern town! Right?
Wrong. Hackers know you exist. Even if the amount of data you have is small, it’s still valuable to them. They will never hesitate to take anything they can get from you. If they can’t use and resell your data, they’ll still take and destroy your business “just because.”
Here are five more uncomfortable truths about cybercrime:
1. Hackers Don’t Care About Your Type of Business
Did you hear about the WannaCry malware? If you didn’t, it was a computer virus that spread to over 150 countries affecting over 200,000 users within days of its release. The victims included various hospital systems in the U.K., preventing access to vital patient records. The virus encrypted various files and called for the users to pay a ransom in bitcoin in order to get a decryption key.
If anyone should be exempt from such maliciousness, doesn’t a hospital fit in that category? Especially when you consider that it’s the patients who ultimately suffer. But they weren’t. Like many of us, they didn’t pay enough attention to the security of their systems. We make do with the bare minimum. Your five-year-old firewall that hasn’t been updated since the previous administration offers little, if any, protection.
Many viruses are spread via phishing emails. When was the last time your system was tested? Scanning, testing, and resolving bugs in the system can’t be a one-off activity. Tests have to be regular, and updates must be current.
2. Hackers Don’t Care About the Size of Your Business
In 2016, Twitter, Netflix, Reddit, and Air BnB were brought down by denial-of-service attacks. This is where a system is bombarded by requests all at once, causing the system to fail. Now, these are very big companies, and news like this makes smaller businesses fall into a false sense of security. You could be tempted to think that the only websites that fell that day were these four.
What you don’t realize is that there are probably thousands of other machines that were used to bring these systems down. How?
There are viruses that turn your individual computer into a zombie, which is then used as a weapon. Your business, with a small system and a dozen computers are just a means to an end.
Even though you aren’t the intended target, you still suffer the same damages as if you were. To the hackers, you are just another weapon in their arsenal. While your business screeches to a halt, they go about their day without so much as a hiccup. They probably don’t even know the name of your business.
The lesson here is that you are never too small to get hacked.
3. Hackers Don’t Care About Who You Serve
You could be a law firm that is dedicating a large number of man hours representing a conservation group. You could be a bank that makes significant contributions to a scholarship fund. You could even be the primary financier of small businesses in your town which helped them bounce back after the recession.
Maintaining a good reputation is important, and can attract new business. Unfortunately, it does not make you immune to system attacks. All it takes is one person looking to make a quick buck or test out their hacking skills, and they can make it their mission to bring you down. Some are so anxious to mess with anyone or everyone that they’ll do it without the promise of material gain.
Alternatively, as mentioned above, your system will just provide a channel to a bigger target. They won’t think twice about shutting you down, despite all the good you do in the community.
4. Hackers Don’t Care About Your PrivacyActually, your privacy is a great incentive, in that they can’t wait to get their hands on what you deem so valuable as to keep it secret.
This is especially true when it comes to phones. We now do more on our phones and tablets than we do on laptops and desktops. This means that hackers have also shifted their focus to our phones as well. Even though many of us limit what we upload on our work machines, we have a lot of personal and business information on our phones.
Now, hackers are using your phone to gain access to your company’s network. How? By hiding behind applications of course. The 2017 Trustwave Global Report found that 99.7% of the web applications they scanned had, at least, one vulnerability. The average number of vulnerabilities per applications was 11. Hackers only need to find one weak spot while you have to find all 11.
With stats like these, it’s no wonder so many of our systems are succumbing to attacks. Your phone is now used to access your system where all hell can break loose. As long as it’s digitized, it’s fair game in the hackers’ universe.
5. Hackers Don’t Care About Consequences
Punishment can be a great motivation if there is evidence that it’s more than just a threat. Now, think about this. Of all the great hacks that happened in the last five years, how many hackers been found and prosecuted? If there are any that number is nowhere close to where it should be.
Basically, there are many hackers that go unpunished. That just spurs them on. You are simply a hurdle they need to jump over. And they will, if you don’t commit to a proper defense strategy.
ConclusionThe security of your data is not a question of “if” you get hacked, it’s a question of when.
You need to think about a long-term partnership with people who not only understand security but make it their business to protect your reputation, privacy and business. For all your security and mobile device management needs, JMARK has you covered.
Our products are engineered to keep your valuable data safe enough that you can concentrate on your actual business. JMARK has offices in Springfield, Missouri and Tulsa, Oklahoma; that serve clients throughout the country. Contact us via our website, email us at [email protected] or call us on 844-44-JMARK. We look forward to hearing from you.