With Russia continuing its military operation against Ukraine, the threat of cyberattack against Western allies, including the United States, is more acute. Russian cyberattacks will likely strike the West very soon. The risk is high and rising. Small businesses must stay vigilant and recognize that the goal of these state sponsored cyber criminals is to cause chaos, confusion, disruption and distraction. Cyber-attacks in Ukraine began before the Russian bombings started. Coordinated distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks battered the websites of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry and one of its major commercial banks, PrivatBank. Last week the U.S Department of Homeland Security launched a “shields up” drive to protect critical infrastructure in the U.S. from Russian cyber criminals and warned companies – especially small businesses -- across the country that they are at heightened risk.
Small businesses are an increasing target of cybercrime because they are more likely to postpone safeguards and best practices that mitigate the chances of a breach or fraud. Many small businesses falsely believe that they have nothing a cybercriminal wants.
The most common cyber crimes against small businesses are:
Identity Theft and Scams
As tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine escalate, small businesses must take steps against falling victim to coordinated attacks.
Remain On High Alert
Never open an e-mail attachment from someone you don’t know and stay wary of forwarded attachments from people you do know. It’s always safer to enter the URL yourself than to click on a link or attachment.
Keep Antivirus Software Up to Date Most types of antivirus software are set up to update automatically, but not all. This helps prevent hackers from accessing your computer, laptop or smartphone, as well as alert you to websites and downloads that could be suspicious.
Adopt Two Factor Authentication Now!
Also called multiple-factor or multiple-step verification, it’s an authentication mechanism to double check that your identity is legitimate. It requires two verification factors, a password and a second factor, usually a code sent via a text or an authenticator app on a mobile device to login. This ensures that a hacker cannot gain access to your account with only a password. This is the easiest way to secure accounts and protect against swindles.
Use Trusted Wi-Fi Resources
Free Wi-Fi is convenient, but hackers use it to intercept internet communications. Before joining a network at a coffee shop or retailer, confirm that the Wi-Fi connection you want to join belongs to a business you know and trust. When in doubt, use your personal Wi-Fi hotspot, or the network connection on your smartphone.
Use Strong Passwords
Passwords should have 12 to 15 alpha numeric characters with strategically placed special characters or symbols. Don’t use the same password for different accounts, especially banking accounts. Use a reputable password manager, like the ones provided by Apple, Google or Microsoft.
Don’t Give Out Your Personal Information
Scrutinize any request for information such as your date of birth, Social Security number or bank account. The same goes for the information you make available online through social media. Keep personal details private.
Keep An Eye on Your Credit
Scrutinize any request for information Examine credit accounts regularly for any suspicious activity or unauthorized charges and set up notifications. through your bank or a banking app, which will track your credit card transactions and alert you to account activity.
Preparing for a possible onslaught of Russian hackers requires much more than the right technology, education, and budget. The key to staying ahead of cybercrime is the right attitude! This means making cybersecurity a priority for business. Good cybersecurity is a collection of policies, training, best practices, safeguards, equipment and physical protection that, when combined, offers the best protection against cybercrime. Cybersecurity protects data, online information, smart devices, personal information and the reputation of a business.
Roark Tech Services is a dedicated Managed Service Provider exclusively serving the small business community since 1998. We are experts in cybersecurity and are uniquely qualified to help small businesses stay safe & competitive. Always consult with us first. If you don’t have an IT Partner that you can trust to give you the right support and advice, we’d love to help. Contact us.