Setting up a new business is exciting, but also daunting. There’s so much to do and stay in control of. Businesses in the current market are normally run online in some form or another. Running a business online means that you are vulnerable to cyber attacks. Hackers try to get access to your computer in order to sabotage, create a data breach or to get financial gain. Small businesses are just as likely to get hacked than large companies, in fact smaller businesses as well as new businesses are often more vulnerable. Often small and new businesses don’t have the finances to install the latest cyber security defence systems, so it’s important to be fully aware on how to protect your business from attack.
Once you have registered your new business using an . Your next step is to ensure your IT systems are up to date and secure. It is important to avoid a data breach. There are many regulations relating to the storage of personal data and failure to comply will likely incur a hefty fine as well as loss of trust in your business. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect 25/05/2018. It is an EU law protecting data and privacy for all individuals residing within the EU. Consent must be gained from individuals who have data stored within businesses and any data breaches must be reported within 72 hours of occuring. It is therefore imperative to ensure your business doesn’t breach data.
Everything that connects to the internet has the potential to be hacked. This article aims to highlight how cyber attacks occur and how to lessen the likelihood.
What is a hacker?
A hacker is an individual who uses technical skills to break code in order to gain unauthorised entry into computer systems. Hackers commit a by causing malicious intent or to cause as much disruption as possible. Hackers often just do it because they enjoy the challenge of cracking security.
How to avoid getting hacked
To avoid getting hacked you need to follow certain procedures. Knowing exactly how hackers get access to your data in the first place, is your first point of defence. Hackers are getting evermore sophisticated and often it’s hard to recognise a hack attempt.
Public and unencrypted wifi
Tempting as it is to work in your local coffee shop on the public wifi, it’s important to never share personal data. It is impossible to tell whether the connection is secure or not which may leave you open to cyber attack. Research has shown that using the wifi in some of the top conference centres and hotels makes you vulnerable to cyber attack. If you need to access data it is possible to to use a VPN (personal private network) which encrypts traffic through the wifi. You could also consider using “hotspot” on your mobile.
Ensure that every attempt you make to access the internet is by secure connection. Check that your wifi isn’t open to hackers. If your wifi isn’t encrypted hackers can view everything you do on the computer. Files can be downloaded without your knowledge and information can be stolen.
Learn to recognise phishing emails
Learning to recognise a phishing email is easier said than done. Most people with an email address will receive a phishing email at some point. Phishing emails lure you into clicking on a link, which leads you to a fake website. Often mimic banks, which look extremely official and legitimate. Always check to see if the sender is who you think they are. You can do this by checking to see if their email address matches the website. You could also check the IP address.
Popular phishing scams include emails informing you that you have won a large amount of money in a competition, if you haven’t entered it will be a scam!
The hackers are searching for ways to steal your data for personal gain.
It’s astonishing that so many people use the same password for multiple accounts. If a hacker works out your password for one account, they will literally have access to everything else! Passwords need to kept securely, especially in business. If you are a business owner don’t reveal passwords or allow other staff to access certain files, they may not be as vigilant in maintaining security as you are.
Ensure that passwords are changed frequently. Schedule it into your planner at regular intervals.
Often hackers find out passwords by installing a virus onto your IT systems. To lower the chance of this occurring ensure that you have installed up to date cyber security software.
When choosing passwords ensure they contain a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers and punctuation. Try not to choose anything that relates to your business or yourself such as pet names and dates of birth. Choose something totally random.
Never open attachments that you’re unsure of. Only open attachments that you’re expecting. Opening an attachment from a hacker is the main way in which viruses are installed onto IT systems. Some attachments contain a trojan horse, the trojan once installed will allow hackers to access all your computer systems. If you have installed up to date cyber security software any attempt to download a trojan will be stopped. It is best to avoid opening the attachment in the first place though, as hackers are getting more sophisticated in their attack methods.
It is really important that all members of your staff team receive training in cyber security. There’s no point in you being aware of how to recognise phishing emails or not to download suspicious attachments if no one else is. The most common way for security breaches to occur is by employees unknowingly downloading or opening an attachment.
The best way to prevent your business from getting hacked is by installing the best cyber security software you can afford, keeping it updated and recognising how hackers infiltrate IT systems.