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Hacking Explained for SME Owners

Computer hacking is the general term used to describe methods used to gain unauthorised access to computer systems and data (which is deemed a “cybercrime”).  Hacking has featured prominently in the news over the past couple of years, nobody can have failed to have read the news on the hacking of the 2016 election in America that some say resulted in Donald Trump winning the election and being ensconced in the White House as President of the USA.  We’ve also seen news stories of the NHS being hacked, and many more government agencies, as well as private companies, bellow we have explained how this can occur to you.

Hackers use a range of differing techniques to take advantage of vulnerable networks, websites and computers, including malware, phishing and password attacks.   According to Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report, there has been a steady increase in attacks that target businesses with fewer than 250 employees (which is how SMEs are designated), so now is not the time to sit back and think your business is safe from cybercrime.

So many small businesses operate online nowadays (it’s essential for success), and gather sensitive customer information such as:

  • Financial records
  • Bank and credit card information
  • Medical records
  • Personal address and phone records.

As a small business grows, so does its customer base, meaning that the amount of information stored on the website increases.  More than 55% of adults have admitted that they use the same user names and passwords for most websites they register with.  This means that if a hacker breaks into your system, they could steal the information from people who use the same credentials for Amazon, eBay and, in some cases, their bank log in details! 

Business owners need to treat cyber security in much the same manner as they do the physical security of their building or business premises.  Find the weak spots and then look for ways in which to block them from attacks.  This is where anti-malware, anti-spam and firewall software comes into the picture. 

Cyber Essentials is a government-backed scheme that can help to protect your business, however large or small, against a range of the most common cyber-attacks.  Business owners can use Cyber Essentials to perform a self-assessment that will protect your business from a range of cyber-attacks.  Cyber Essentials Certification costs around £300 and is simple.  You’ll learn how to prevent the most common attacks so it’s a great investment in the future of your business.  If you think the price is too high and that your business cannot afford it, think again.  Ask yourself if you can afford to be hacked, with all the hassle that could cause for you and your business.

Next week, we’ll be looking at some simple steps you can take to prevent your business getting hacked in future.  Don’t miss out on the information you need to protect your business data – follow us on Twitter or Facebook so you know as soon as the article is available.