Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Don't leave your small business vulnerable to a cyber attack

Here's what attracts cyber criminals: easy targets. This means that you can leave your small business exposed to a cyber attack if you don't defend your company's Wi-Fi systems with passwords or if you rely upon passwords that are ridiculously simple to guess. In a recent story outlining steps that business owners can take to protect themselves from cybercrimes, Entrepreneur Magazine recommends that you do the small things that might make most hackers move on to less difficult targets.

Encryption Matters

The best defense against hackers? Encrypt your data. This will make it much harder for cyber criminals to access your company’s bank accounts, employee information and credit-card data. Hackers can crack encryption if they're skilled enough. But many will see encrypted data and simply move on to an easier target. Best of all, it’s easy to encrypt your computer data. Simply turn on the full-disk encryption tool that comes with your computers’ operating systems. This tool is known as FileVault on Macintosh computers and BitLocker on Windows. Once these tools are turned on, it will encrypt every file or program on your computers’ drives.

Lockdown

Here’s a surprising fact from the Entrepreneur story: Many businesses end up being the target of cyber crimes only after burglars physically break into their offices and steal their laptops or other devices. Once equipped with your equipment, cyber criminals can potentially access important company accounts and information. That’s why employees should, before leaving for the day, run a cable through the Kensington locks – the small metal loops attached to most computers and laptops – on their electronic devices and lock them to their desks. This may prevent some criminals, obsessed with completing their theft quickly, from bothering with the devices.

Wi-Fi Vulnerability

Often the easiest way for cyber thieves to get into your company accounts is through your business’ Wi-Fi network. That’s why Entrepreneur Magazine suggests you do away with Wi-Fi completely and instead install a wired network. If you can’t do that, as a minimum protect your Wi-Fi accounts with passwords which are difficult to compromise. A good bet? Long passwords consisting of an assortment of letters, numbers and symbols.

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