Top 4 Ways Hackers Will Attack Your Network
And They Are Targeting You RIGHT NOW
Most small and midsize business (SMB) owners exist in a bubble of blissful ignorance. They focus on the day-to-day operations of their organization, driving growth, facilitating hiring and guiding marketing, without a single thought given to the security of the computer networks these processes depend on. After all, they’re just the little guy – why would hackers go to the trouble of penetrating their systems for the minuscule amount of data they store?
And eventually, often after years of smooth sailing through calm seas, they get hacked, fork out thousands of dollars to malicious hackers and collapse beneath the weight of their own shortsightedness.
The facts don’t lie. According to Verizon’s annual Data Breach Investigations Report, a full 71% of cyber-attacks are aimed squarely at SMBs. And while it’s unclear exactly how many of these attacks are actually successful, with the sad state of most small businesses’ security protocols, it’s a safe bet that a good chunk of the attacks make it through.
But why? As Tina Manzer writes for Educational Dealer, “Size becomes less of an issue than the security network … While larger enterprises typically have more data to steal, small businesses have less secure networks.” As a result, hackers can hook up automated strikes to lift data from thousands of small businesses at a time – the hit rate is that high.
Today, trusting the security of your company to your son-in-law, who assures you he “knows about computers,” isn’t enough. It takes constant vigilance, professional attention and, most of all, knowledge. Start here with the four most common ways hackers infiltrate hapless small businesses.
1. PHISHING E-MAILS
An employee receives an e-mail directly from your company’s billing company, urging them to fill out some "required" information before their paycheck can be finalized. Included in the very professional-looking e-mail is a link your employee needs to click to complete the process. But when they click the link, they aren’t redirected anywhere. Instead, a host of vicious malware floods their system, spreading to the entirety of your business network within seconds, and locks everyone out of their most precious data. In return, the hackers want thousands of dollars or they’ll delete everything.
It’s one of the oldest tricks in the hacker toolbox, but today it’s easier than ever for an attacker to gather key information and make a phishing e-mail look exactly like every other run-of-themill e-mail you receive each day. Train your employees to recognize these sneaky tactics, and put in safeguards in case someone messes up and clicks the malicious link.
2. BAD PASSWORDS
According to Inc.com contributing editor John Brandon, “With a $300 graphics card, a hacker can run 420 billion simple, lowercase, eight-character password combinations a minute.” What’s more, he says, “80% of cyber-attacks involve weak passwords,” yet despite this fact, “55% of people use one password for all logins.”
As a manager, you should be bothered by these statistics. There’s simply no excuse for using an easy-to-crack password, for you or your team. Instead, it’s a good idea to make a password out of four random common words, splicing in a few special characters for good measure. To check the strength of your password, type it into HowSecureIsMyPassword.net before you make it official.
"...hackers can hook up automated strikes to lift data from thousands of small businesses at a time — the hit rate is that high."
As described above, malware is often delivered through a shady phishing e-mail, but it’s not the only way it can wreak havoc on your system. An infected website (such as those you visit when you misspell sites like Facebook.com, a technique called “typosquatting”), a USB drive loaded with viruses or even an application can bring vicious software into your world without you even realizing it. In the past, an antivirus software was all that you needed. These days, it’s likely that you need a combination of software systems to combat these threats. These tools are not typically very expensive to put in place, especially considering the security holes they plug in your network.
4. SOCIAL ENGINEERING
As fallible as computers may be, they’ve got nothing on people. Sometimes hackers don’t need to touch a keyboard at all to break through your defenses: they can simply masquerade as you to a support team in order to get the team to activate a password reset. It’s easier than you think, and requires carefully watching what information you put on the Internet – don’t put the answers to your security questions out there for all to see.
We’ve outlined some of the simplest ways to defend yourself against these shady techniques, but honestly, the best way is to bring on a company that constantly keeps your system updated with the most cutting-edge security and is ready at a moment’s notice to protect you in a crisis. Hackers are going to come for you, but if you’ve done everything you can to prepare, your business will be safe.
Help Us Out And We’ll Give You A Brand-New Kindle
Fire For Your Trouble
We love having you as a customer and, quite honestly, wish we had more like you! So instead of just wishing, we’ve decided to hold a special “refer a friend” event during the month of July.
Simply refer any company with 10 or more computers to our office to receive a FREE computer network assessment (a $397 value). Once we’ve completed our initial appointment with your referral, we’ll rush YOU a free Kindle Fire of your choice as a thank-you (or donate $100 to your favorite charity ... your choice!).
Simply call us at 614.763.2911 or e-mail us at [email protected] with your referral’s name and contact information today!
Shiny New Gadget Of The Month:
Introducing The Snap SmartCam
Today, the security of your home is more important than ever before. Lawbreakers are constantly getting bolder, and as our technology advances, they switch up their tactics. With that in mind, all of us should be on the lookout for a security camera that’s difficult to spot, is intelligent about the footage it collects, and grabs high-quality footage to identify burglars.
Enter the Snap SmartCam, a tiny little camera that looks — and operates — just like a phone charger. The innocuouslooking device uses motiondetecting technology to pick up when shady activity is going on in your house, and takes highquality footage to catch a person in the act. If you’re interested, the camera will cost you $57.00 at the time of writing, a great deal for a security camera of any type, much less one that seems so useful.
Leadership Is Lacking
Professor and leadership expert James O’Toole once said that “95% of American managers today say the right thing… 5% actually do it.” I’m confident this is more true today than ever before. When I look around at the current business landscape, I see poor leadership destroying companies from the inside out. Disengaged employees, and especially those who abandon an organization altogether, cost companies billions of dollars each year, and as they say, people don’t leave companies — they leave bosses. Forty-six percent of employees leave their job because they feel underappreciated, while 75% of employees cite their boss as the most stressful part of their job.
Luckily, the inverse of this is also true: great leaders find that happy employees are 31% more productive, and 56% more effective at sales!
But what makes a great leader? A truly excellent leader makes people believe in themselves, feel good about working for the company, and, most importantly, feel special about being chosen to work there. Ralph Hart, a former CEO for Heublin, a company with thousands of employees, made it a policy to personally greet every new hire. He’d sit down with them during the first month of their employment to have a short chat and let them know just how he and the company felt about them joining on. He would tell them, “The company you are working for is first-class. I want you to know we have first-class products, first-class marketing, first-class advertising and firstclass customer service.” However, he’d always stress that “to be able to list everything we do as first-class, we have found that we must hire only first-class people!” He made sure they knew that he was delighted to have them on the team.
In less than two minutes, this CEO made an enormous impact on his new employee. They couldn’t believe that the CEO of this huge company even knew their name, much less believed that they were a first-class talent. There’s nothing better than making someone feel special – nothing better than telling someone you believe in their abilities.
Ralph Hart knew better than anyone that how you treat your employees is how they will treat your customers and associates. If you want first-class employees, then treat them as such. They’ll respond in turn by going out of their way to do more, deliver more, help more, innovate more, and stick around for the long term.
When you think about your employees’ needs ahead of your own, the success of your business will take care of itself. If you show them that you are concerned about them advancing in their career, then they will help your company prosper. When you help them to succeed, they will help you succeed. Your relationship will grow and the need to micromanage will never be a concern.