Cybersecurity for Small Business

Cybersecurity for Small Business

Every year at this time I write a blog post on cyber security for small business owners.  It is usually prompted by reading up on the latest and greatest stuff coming out of the Black Hat and DEF CON conferences in Las Vegas.  This topic is so important, simply because most business owners do not believe there is a threat.  This is despite the fact that information security breaches are on the rise, at least in the UK and according to Symantec research on the topic.  I thought this year it would help if we could review some real examples of businesses who have been impacted by a cyber-security threat.  Hopefully through learning about what happened to these entrepreneurs, you’ll think about some changes you can make in your business to make it more secure.

  • Passen Law Group, a two-person law firm in Chicago, was target to a mass-injection attack.  This type of hack is on the rise, and can easily happen to small business owners with websites that are not properly secured or regularly updated.  By the way, cleaning up this mess came with a $2,000+ price tag.
  • A family of grocery stores were targeted in a complex cyber attack to steal customer information.  Have you ever had a technology or security audit of your company?
  • A liquor store owner was taken to the tune of $800 because a customer was able to access the credit card reader.  Do you have processes in place to prevent unauthorized access to your systems?
  • In this case, an unencrypted laptop from a professor was stolen.  The laptop contained personal information on 4,000 patients.  Do you allow employees to take their laptops/tablets home? Is there intellectual property, or sensitive client data on those systems?
  • Islandnet, an internet service provider company, was targeted because one of their client websites had a blog article that a hacker didn’t like.  Could your firm be at risk because of its association to any other companies?
  • Yes, hackers even got this local floral shop.  Quote from the owner, “I don’t know how long it was up there for but one of our customers rang up on Thursday and said it was inappropriate.

Resources to Learn More

Rob Williams is a Business Analyst for the University of Northern Iowa.

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