The Cost of Doing Business in the Age of Malware

The Cost of Doing Business in the Age of Malware

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The days of having to only worry about your home PC falling prey to a malware attack are long over. We are living in an age where hackers are setting their sights on juicer fruit: your business.

Let’s take a look at a few statistics:

In 2018 58% of all malware attacks on businesses targeted what most would call small businesses. You may not think that your small, 4-employee flower shop may seem like an enticing target for a cyber-villain but consider this: does a hacker have more to gain attacking your home network or your business network?

Your commercial network may very well have data on your customers including credit card information, purchasing history, phone numbers, addresses and who knows what else? Whereas your home network may only have the information of a few individuals. You may have a small business but you still have a big target on your back.

Another interesting statistic involves the infamous British Airways malware attack back in September 2018. In this attack, roughly 380,000 BA customers had their information compromised. We’re talking about a multi-billion dollar commercial flight giant that was brought to its knees by a sophisticated malware code.

The point is that whether you are a tiny little coffee shop or a titan of your industry, the cost of doing business must include protecting yourself against cyber-crime.

Where you May be Vulnerable

If at this point in the article you are a little uneasy, you should be. Protecting yourself from cyber-attacks has never been more important and as you read; your business probably has at least one vulnerable spot through which a hacker can exploit you in any number of ways. Protecting your business starts with analyzing your systems and seeing where you may be vulnerable.

  1. Internet of things or IoT devices are coming under specific fire from hackers. Many small businesses rely on IoT devices such as security systems and card readers and many don’t realize how prone these devices are to attack. In 2015, roughly 100,000 IoT devices were infected by the bot known as Bashlite. Mirai, another bot attack on IoT devices DDoS’d it’s victims, gaining access through DVR’s, routers and cameras.
  2. Your network line is another area in which you may be susceptible to a security breach. Not knowing what is going on in or around your network is tantamount to giving a hacker your passwords. Still, most business owners don’t invest enough time or effort into network monitoring.
  3. S3 buckets in the Amazon cloud servers are another fat target for hackers. Sloppy configuration of an S3 bucket can lead to tons of important data being stolen by malware. It is important to use helpful tools to make sure that your configuration is airtight.

These are just a few of the technical areas in which you may be vulnerable but keeping your business from malware harm is also about practicality. Some basic things to consider include:

  • Is my anti-malware software up to date?
  • How many people have access to important and sensitive areas of my business network?
  • Does my staff know what security practices they should be employing?
  • Do I have sufficient backup points and procedures?

If you suspect that you have been infected by malware, investing in malware removal software should be your next move.

Giving Your Business the Best Chance to Thrive

In the malware era, giving your business the best chance to thrive is as much about a solid business model as it is about solid cyber-security practices. Take a look at how you can protect your business from malevolent malware:

  • The first and most important step in protecting your business from malware is installing a comprehensive security suite for your system. This should include not only a firewall and anti-virus software, which only defend against a small range of attacks, but email scanners, file sharing defense and browsing tools.
  • Encrypting your data is another safe business practice. This is sort of an insurance because even if a hacker does manage to get hold of your files if they are encrypted, it will at least be harder for the hacker to exploit.
  • Setting up offsite backup points for your data may also save your business in the case of a ransomware attack. Multiple backup points can help insulate your precious data and ensure you will be able to recover from an attack.

In addition to these steps, you may also want to implement a security training course for your employees, make use of VPN’s, and hire a third-party security consultant to run your system through the gauntlet.

Being a Responsible Business Owner in the Era of Malware

The responsible business owner of today will have a keen eye on the health of their network and a finger on the pulse of system vulnerabilities. New threats are emerging every day so you should never rest on your laurels. It may be a tedious adage but it holds true: if you think you are being too careful, you probably aren’t.

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