According to the Annual Verizon Data Breach Report, small businesses were the target of 58% of all cyber attacks in 2018. While attacking a small business may not be as profitable as attacking a major corporation, the small businesses are easier to penetrate.
To protect a small business, it is important to train all employees to spot email scams and malicious links or attachments. When it comes to invoices and payments, ensure the bill is for items that were ordered and delivered or for services that were completed. When hackers correspond with a company, they create fake email addresses and caller ID information to fool employees into trusting them. Do your due diligence in researching companies or vendors before working with them. The easiest way to research a company is through a simple google search. If your employees are receiving emails from a fake company, with a fake website and fake caller ID, it is likely that another small business has too. A quick Google search using the word “Scam” or “complaints” can lead to what other organizations and businesses are saying about that company.
In response to the rising number of small businesses experiencing data breaches, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has created an interactive website to inform small business owners on how they can protect themselves from falling victim to a cyber-attack. The site is set up in a format that is easy to understand, split into two sections, one focusing on cyber security and the second focusing on popular small business scams. The Cyber security section is broken down into 12 sub-sections. Each section has an informative page, that can be downloaded as a PDF file, and a corresponding quiz that can be taken to test the knowledge. The Scam section lists and explains the strategies attackers use, methods to protect against scams, and details specific scams that are common among small businesses. It additionally provides a link to report scams in attempt to stop them and catch the cyber criminals behind them.
Additionally, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has published, “10 Cyber Security Tips for Small Businesses”. It’s an informative, quick read on the basics of protecting a small business, its consumers and its data from cyber threats. It also lists several links to check out from major publications, security software companies,and other government agencies, providing further reading on cyber security for small businesses.
The FTC web page can be found by clicking on “Business Center” under the Tips & Advice tab on FTC.gov. Within the Business Center tab, click the Protecting Small Businesses link in the left menu.; or clicking the FTC button below. The FCC web page can be found at FCC.gov by clicking “Browse by Bureaus & Offices” at the very top of the page, selecting Office at the right end of the menu tab, then clicking “Communications Business Opportunities”, and finally selecting “Cyber security for Small Businesses” from the left side menu; or by clicking the FCC button below.