Nowadays, everything is online. If you need directions to a place you’ve never been before, you get directions from your phone or tablet. If you want to know a celebrity’s birthday, you search for it online. If you want to buy a new pair of shoes, you can buy them online, and have them shipped to you. Many people go online to make their financial decisions. If you own a business, you need to have a presence on the web just to keep up with the internet giants like Amazon and China’s Alibaba. These companies specialize in bringing the inconvenience of shopping to the convenience of your living room.
Online businesses are a way of life now, and small businesses are definitely feeling the pressure. If you have a business, setting up an e-commerce system on your website is the best way to keep steady business flow. Much like you would need to protect a brick and mortar store, you will need to take steps to protect your online store from a new brand of criminal; the cybercriminal. Anytime there is money involved, criminals will find a way to get at it, and the affects can be devastating if the right precautions are not taken.
Hackers can break into a business’s database using different methods, all of which are set up on another computer. A popular method they use is sending viruses known as Trojans attached to an email. These sly hackers label the emails in a way that you feel obligated to open it. Once the email is opened the virus invades your computer. To prevent viruses, you should pay attention to where the email came from before opening it. If something looks fishy, delete the email.
However, not all companies have the luxury of having a few contacts and disregarding unknown emails. This makes it harder to determine whether the email is an asset or a predator’s opening. That is why having the right defenses set up on your computer is vital. Setting up firewalls and anti-virus, malware and spyware detection software is essential to protect your system.
Password breeches are a common problem as well. If a password is too simple, hackers easily guess or strategically gather them, granting them free reign of your system. Once they are in, you have a major problem which will only get worse the longer they go unnoticed. Here are a few fool proof password tips:
- Have a minimum password length of at least 8 characters.
- Require uppercase, lowercase, numbers, and symbols.
- Do not use more than one known word.
- Have unique passwords for more vital access points.
- Change passwords every 2 month or so.
Unfortunately, crime happens, and sometimes there are only so many safeguards you can put into place. And even then, there are some criminals who have the skill to bypass all of your carefully placed security measures. If you can afford it, business insurance can ensure that your business has help dealing with cybercrime fallout. That includes any legal action potentially taken against you for failure to protect client information.
Cybercrime is a real threat, and continually on the climb. Keep in mind this truth that the Master of Science in Criminal Justice at the University of Cincinnati demonstrated with their cybercrime infographic: Even big businesses can fall victim to cybercrimes. Realize that even though it is a serious subject and should be treated as such, there are things that you can do to give yourself peace of mind. If you take these steps to protect yourself and your investment, you can maintain your online business with confidence.
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