Cyber-attacks affect businesses every day, costing billions of dollars in losses each year. Unfortunately, 40% of cyber-attacks target small businesses. Hence the importance of business owners defending their bottom line by understanding these basic online practices.
Web fraud, along with smartphone and email fraud is a criminal offense. The schemes are based on social engineering tactics. Hackers create malicious software with the goal to corrupt business networks, computers and mobile devices. Their goal is to steal data such as customers' personal information for financial gains. Cyber threats affect businesses and governments as much as individuals.
What are the common cyber-attacks that affect businesses?
What is a data breach? The illegal release of sensitive information is considered a data breach. For example, a password attack can lead to a network security breach. Data breaches are fast strikes and 83% of them are found weeks later.
What is malware? Malware is malicious software capable of gaining access to a device or network. For example, the man in the middle attack happens when a fraudster steals sensitive information on public Wi-Fi.
992.92 million malware attacks were registered in 2019
What is a denial of service attack? This cyber-attack affects businesses by crashing the business network. As a result, businesses can't log into their websites or email.
What is a virus? A virus is a program able to spread malicious code. This type of cyber-attack affects business by controlling files and anti-virus programs.
60% of small businesses that suffer a cyber-attack are out of business in six months.
What are the Affects of Cyber-Attacks on Small Businesses?
According to the Small Business Administration, 88% of small and medium business owners feel unsafe online. Financial loss from a web fraud event can greatly impact the business' balance sheet.
Starting with security software expenses to law suits filed against the business, fines or even ransoms from ransomware attacks. Computer systems such as credit card processors might be down in the event of a cyber-attack. Therefore, businesses must shut down their operations for a limited time. That can lead to operational and cash flow issues. Each closed day impacts sales, customers, and profits. An entrepreneur’s nightmare can be the loss of intellectual property. Cybercrimes often expose corporate information or prototypes to the public and the competition.
Not only do cyber-attacks affect small and medium businesses from growing, but also tarnishes their reputation. Potentially costing consumer trust and vendor relationships, while disappointing investor and shareholders alike.
Where to Report Cyber-Attacks?
- Local law enforcement
- The Internet Crime Complaint Center
- Federal Trade Commission
- Department of Justice
Best Web Fraud Practices to Implement
1. Individual Logins: Laptops are easy to lose or steal when they’re left unattended. Allow complete access only to trusted staff. Take it a step further and create individual user logins with strong passwords so each employee is held accountable.
2. Inform Employees: Cybersecurity training accompanied with materials raises awareness about the consequences of cyber-attacks. For instance, providing email phishing examples and understanding smartphone fraud tactics will maximize their understanding and minimize your risk.
3. Strong Passwords: Simple or overused employee email passwords can cause data breaches. That's why it is imperative to have a different password for each account and changing it every 3 months. Use 10 or more characters and at least 1 uppercase, 1 lowercase letter, 1 number and 1 special character.
4. Two-factor Login: Challenge fraudsters with a new login process. Set up 2 factor authentication that asks for a code, an automated phone call or a security question.
5. Install Antivirus Software: Each business device should have anti-virus set to automatically update.
6. Firewall and Encryption: Block fraudsters from stealing your business data with a firewall or internet connection encryption. Most operating systems come with firewalls that only needs to be turned on. Make sure the firewall works properly and updates on a regular basis.
7. Lock Sensitive Data: Avoid data loss or corrupted files with constant computer backups. Store critical data such as invoices, databases, reports and financial files in a different storage system.
8. Endorse Anti-Fraud Tools: Make sure your vendors and especially your financial institution has your back through anti-fraud services such as IBM Trusteer Rapport®.
Helping to prevent online fraud is a top priority at National Bank of Arizona visit our Online Security Center for additional information and our layered anti-fraud approach. We take time to explain what to look for and what to do in a fraud event.Moreover, businesses of all sizes should learn more about the VISA Zero Liability program, also available through National Bank of Arizona.
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