If you were a criminal, would you rob a big bank with loads of security or settle for a small store with one employee?
In the first case, the chance of you pulling off the attempt is slim. In the second, you have almost guaranteed success. That’s how cybercriminals look at small and medium-sized businesses.
Bigger companies have the resources to protect themselves from cyberattacks. That’s why hackers use social engineering to harm solo entrepreneurs, small companies, and businesses with less than 100 employees.
Hackers know who to target. Everyone has a LinkedIn, and cybercriminals use it for research. CEOs and CFOs are frequent targets. The same thing is true about executive assistants.
If they breach such an account, they can send messages on behalf of the owner. It’s easy to persuade an employee to send a thousand dollars to their boss and expect to be repaid the next day. That’s how socially engineered attacks work.
Hackers can also use the accounts to gather data, attack the organization from within, or install ransomware and ask for money.
Small and medium-sized businesses don’t make the news when they get hacked. Instead, they suffer in silence.
One in five organizations had at least one compromised account in 2021. This happens because people fall for phishing attacks. Hackers know how to pass through technical defenses, and the user makes a mistake.
To put things into perspective, that’s more than half a million hacked accounts. That’s a lot of material for cybercriminals to work with. Most business owners are worried about what the competition is doing. In reality, they should be more concerned about digital security.
Because of the pandemic, the corporate world changed. More people are working remotely, which means more chances for cybercriminals to strike. The number of cyberattacks increases alarmingly.
In 2022, it increased by 627% compared to the previous year. Statistics say that 667 million malware detections happened during that time. That’s one in a dozen people worldwide. Think of twelve people you see frequently, and put it into perspective that one of them is walking around with a hacked account.
The world needs 4 million more cybersecurity experts to meet the demand. Small businesses don’t have extra money to spend on security and hire an in-house employee. That’s why they should take matters into their own hands. Education comes first, and technology comes second. Everyone can learn the best cybersecurity practices in less than a week. All it takes is time.
The Russian-Ukraine conflict brought cyberwarfare to life. This includes fake news, deepfake videos, ransomware, and battles of intelligence agencies.
Hackers are dangerous on their own. But they’re even more dangerous when a government stands behind them.
Luckily, there haven’t been any cases where such groups have targeted individuals. Or maybe we’re all hacked and don’t know it yet?
Defense is the best offense when it comes to cybercrime. Hackers love easy targets and hate people who can secure their devices.
As a business leader, you should review how you protect your emails, employees, clients, and devices. Do you have any cybersecurity rules in place? Do you have weekly or monthly education sessions? Seeing where you’re at will help you get a general grasp and start from there.
Next comes the easiest step – implement protective technology. Install an antivirus and a VPN for mobile devices. We use smartphones all the time, and chances are some of your employees connect to free Wi-Fi without a VPN. If everyone’s at the office, protect the router with a virtual private network, and all devices connected will be covered. If you have remote workers, encourage them to install protection software on their personal and professional devices.
After everyone is on the same page with the previous step, it’s time to focus on passwords. You need to have a strong and different password for every account. That’s easier said than done. No one has the memory to remember hundreds of passwords, which is where a password manager comes in. It helps you store the login info for every account, and you only need to remember one master password.
Finally, the hardest thing to accomplish is training and education. Most people don’t want change. Especially when they’re used to working in a specific way. Hackers change their approach constantly. They don’t use malware and spam through email like they used to. Instead, they pretend to be HR recruiters who offer fake jobs on LinkedIn and send malware through PDF files.
Experts suggest using machine learning security to protect against threat types. But that’s too much to ask from small and medium-sized businesses. Instead, you can look at phishing examples that worked, create test phishing emails, and send them out randomly. Measure your score, and see whether your employees will fall for scams.
The weakest point of a cybersecurity system is the human that uses it. Make sure you devote time, attention, and knowledge to your team so they can help you win in the long game – not getting hacked.