When it comes to cybersecurity breaches, only huge companies make it to the news. Hundreds of startups are breached every day, and they suffer in painful silence. Startups are the majority of 58% of all known data breaches. Hackers are in this business to steal data, and no business is too small to face cyber risks.
Let’s explore some of the most common cyber threats facing small businesses.
Ransomware is, in essence, ransom paid for data, the same way ransom is paid for a kidnapped person. In ransomware, a hacker encrypts or locks down all your business data, computers or even your server, which renders it inaccessible until you pay the amount the hacker demands for. The amount demanded is mostly in Cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin, which is not easy to trace.
Phishing attacks are prevalent and come in the form of emails purporting to be from a trusted source such as a bank or friend. These emails usually come with a link or attachment, which leads you to a fake website. Before you realize it, you will have inadvertently handed over your sensitive data such as passwords and login details.
On June 11, the FBI released a Public Service Announcement that gives details of fraudulent insurance and shipping fees currently charged by cybercriminals, citing Covid related updates concerning shipping regulations and requirements as the justification for the Said charges. An example includes cybercriminals asking for maritime insurance fees that are purportedly refundable and citing false Covid-19 laws.
According to a Forbes prediction, cyber warfare will rise by a whopping 300% in 2020, mostly on small businesses. Ransoms on startups will increase from $150,000 up to $300,000 for each event, which will lead to a rise in startups declaring bankruptcy and closure. Out of every ten startups attacked, at least two will close down. To prevent your business from being the next victim, you have to properly secure it.
How to Protect Your Startup
You can quickly secure your startup from hackers, though it is an uphill task, and you have to stay a step ahead. Here are a few ways to stay ahead:
1. Install a VPN – A VPN router for security does more than hiding your location and IP address. The Virtual Private Network (VPN) encrypts all your communication via the internet, ensuring no one can intercept your data in transit. Startups choose to install one on their router so that all traffic that goes through the connected devices can be secured.
2. Educate yourself and your employees – Every startup is as weak as its weakest link. This link could be you or your employees if you have any. Each day, hackers become more experience in tricking their target victims. If you and your employees know how to recognize phishing scams, it will be much easier to mitigate the attacks.
3. Use strong passwords – The secure password rule has been repeated so many times, and you would think more people would enforce the law. Most people use weak passwords that hackers crack within minutes. The general rule of thumb concerning passwords is that they should be easy for you to remember, but hard for a hacker to guess. Including upper and lowercase letters, numbers and special symbols make it harder to crack.
4. Use multi-factor authentication – Using the multi-factor or two-factor authentication makes it harder for anyone to log in without authorization. While logging in, you can use a password plus a biometric authentication such as a fingerprint or retina scan. You can also opt to have a second passcode sent to a trusted device that only you have access to.
5. Install anti-malware – Malware installs on your computers once you click on phishing links. It is critical to install anti-malware software on your network and all your devices.
Cybercriminals are always at work and will use any means possible to gain access to your network. Cyber threats are on the rise, and startups are hurting the most because they suffer in silence. To mitigate these risks, you need to protect yourself before hackers destroy your budding business.
About the Author
Amy Cavendish is a content strategist at the TechFools, a tech blog aiming to inform readers about the potential dangers of technology and introduce them to the best ways to protect themselves online. As an outspoken advocate for digital freedom, Amy is dedicated to empowering her readers to take control of their digital lives with her thought-leadership articles.