10 Tips To Protect Small Business From Cybercrimes In 2022 | #computerhacking | #hacking


Cybercrime involves any criminal activity carried out by an individual or organized group using a computer or networked device. A Cybercrime can include various types of profit-driven criminal activities, including ransomware attacks, phishing, identity theft, or email and internet fraud. Attempts to steal financial information on bank accounts or payment card information is also classified as cybercrime.

Most Cybercrimes target individual or company information for theft and resale. This may involve gaining access to financial files and stealing critical information for sale on the dark web. A classic example of cybercrime targeting an organization involves infecting one computer with a virus and spreading it to the entire network of business computers. Such organizational cyber attacks target big companies, especially financial institutions, where a lot is at stake.

As companies continue implementing flexible working policies and cloud computing solutions [1],  there’s a need to focus on educating employees on cyber security awareness and the current state of internet use. They should also prioritize backing up sensitive information and creating the first line defense against unauthorized individuals accessing critical data. 

Types Of Cybercrimes Small Business Owners Face

Email And Internet Fraud

Most cybercriminals first target their victims by sending a malicious email to extract crucial information.

Email and internet fraud is a common form of cybercrime that targets individuals and organizations. The criminals send a phishing email into your inbox to trick you into doing things that will put your confidential information at risk. Internet fraud through e-mail may occur in the following ways;

  • Business email compromise

Legitimate business email accounts are compromised through computer intrusion activities.

Fraudsters use compromised emails to request payments to fraudulent locations.

Identity Fraud 

Identity fraud doesn’t exclusively fall under cybercrime. However, it still qualifies as a cybercrime if carried out online.

If a hacker wants to commit identity fraud, they’ll first seek access to your personal details. Here, they’ll accumulate all they need to orchestrate a well-crafted identity fraud. Account takeover [2] is a common online identity fraud where a fraudster illegally accesses a given account, leading to a data breach and financial loss to the victims. Common ways hackers get that access include;

Fraudsters use bait to lure you to fake websites meant to extract personal information like usernames, passwords, or bank details.

The fraudsters use malware to redirect your online activity to a fake version of a website where you’ll unknowingly enter your personal details.

This involves using spyware to capture everything you type while visiting different websites. 

Fraudsters steal your information by sniffing through your web traffic, especially on a wireless access point. They target a specific network name and individuals using an unsecured and unencrypted public wi-fi network.

Theft Of Financial Or Card Payment Details

This form of cyberattack occurs when fraudsters infiltrate retailers’ systems to get the card payment information of their customers.

Fraudsters often sell financial or card payment details on the dark web operatives who want to process payments on behalf of the retailers. They target small to medium-sized businesses yet to develop strong and secure programs for their online safety. The fraudsters steal the payment cards’ details which can be bought and sold in bulk on darknet markets. 

Theft And Sale Of Corporate Data

A corporate information breach is a serious problem in the 21st century. The impact is so rife to the extent many states have responded by adopting data breach disclosure laws [3], requiring firms to inform customers in the event of a personal information breach.

The criminals take advantage of poor technological firewalls and the recklessness of key personnel who handle sensitive data. They sell the stolen customer information to the dark web operatives who want unauthorized access to secure places such as human resources files and business accounts.

Companies seeking to foster strong protection against sensitive information need to look beyond password protect access alone. They must consider stronger protection mechanisms like AI-enabled security systems, encryption security software, and a disaster management plan just in case.

Cyberextortion 

Cyber extortion happens like real-life money extortion.

Cyber extortionists blackmail their victims into revealing sensitive personal information. They also blackmail businesses by threatening to bring down a system or network. A classic example of cyber extortion is when hackers infect your personal computer with malware that encrypts all your files until you pay ransom to unlock the files. 

Ransomware Attacks (A Type Of Cyber Extortion).

Ransomware attacks involve using malicious software (malware) that threatens to publish or block data or computer system access through encryption. The fraudsters will often seek a ransom fee before allowing you control of your files and computer operating system.

You need to develop a watchful eye over your computer to control ransomware attacks. As for businesses, employees with administrative privileges should watch who uses the computer keenly. Antivirus software is also recommended to reduce any vulnerabilities to malware attacks.  

Cryptojacking

Crypto-jacking is a cyber-attack where hackers break into your device and use it to mine cryptocurrency without your consent.

The cyber attackers will do this by using JavaScript to infect your device after visiting an infected website. In the end, you’ll experience skyrocketing energy bills and performance issues which earn huge profits to the crypto hackers.

Cyberespionage 

Cyberespionage is a high form of cybercrime. It involves using state-sponsored or an organized group of hackers for a specific hacking assignment.

Cyberespionage is mostly associated with powerful countries seeking world control. It may involve countries like Russia or the US seeking to infiltrate the complex matrix of other countries’ networks and renowned organizations. They then steal classified intel and use malware to initiate attacks on nuclear plants. Cyberespionage has been blamed for many terrifying things ever to rock this world.

How Do Hackers Get into Your Computer?

Emails Containing Viruses And Malware 

Most cyber-attacks originate from sent attachments to your secure mailbox. A hacker may easily gain access to your computer by attaching malware on word processing documents for you to download. Once you open the attachment, the malicious software downloads onto the same computer.

Emails With Links To Malicious Websites 

Online fraudsters take advantage of the well-trusted brands by emulating their legitimate emails and using them to execute a cyber attack. They can send a malicious HTML link leading to a fake website that will trick you into entering sensitive information such as personal banking details

Social Networking Pages

The current age of social networking has its fair share of challenges. In most cases, you’ll come across fake profiles on Facebook or Twitter enticing you to follow the link. This is a trap that may lead you to lose sensitive personal information to malicious websites.

Inserting Malicious Packets 

This form of access to your computer depends on robot computers to send out large quantities of data packets to an equivalent number of recipients with a specific target. The goal is to identify a router or firewall with an open port and access the computers behind the firewalls.

Hijacking Ads for Small Businesses

The internet Ad space is another lucrative avenue for cybercriminals to access your computer. They often place Ads containing malicious code on legitimate websites either by purchasing ads directly or hijacking the ad server. Cybercriminals can also hijack an Ad account belonging to any small business and use it for their malicious activities.  

Malware Sold As Legitimate Software 

There are many fake antivirus software being sold on the web by cybercriminals. The cyber attackers package this software as a legitimate product and sell it to unsuspecting people who can’t comprehend the software has malware designed to infect their computers

Advanced Persistent Threats (Apts)

Advanced persistent threats are sustained multi-pronged attempts to break into a specific data network. Hackers employ different methods, including sending fake promotional content to breach the network and steal crucial information. 

Status Of Cybercrime To The World

In their annual data breach report, the Identity Theft Research Center (ITRC) announced a record 1,862 data breaches in the US, in 2021. This was more than a 65% increase from previously reported in 2020. More than 290 million people had their data compromised in 2021 compared to 310 million in 2020.

According to a recent US Small business administration survey, more than 80% of small business owners feel their businesses are vulnerable to cyber-attacks. The study further highlights that close to a similar percentage of this business can’t afford professional IT solutions.

Even with the recent developments in combating cybercrimes[4], the above data outlines how cybercrime has become a major global risk to individual and business data safe.

10 Tips To Protect Small Business From Cybercrimes

10 Tips To Protect Small Business LLC From Cybercrimes 2022

Taking your business operations online is a big step in the right direction, but it can also usher in a new set of threats and security risks. It’s even worse if you run a small or medium-sized corporation since criminals know these entities are yet to establish strong security systems. Below are tips to help you navigate different cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

Have A Strong Privacy Policy

If you opt for the case of password policy, ensure your employees use strong passwords and change them regularly.  Another way to institute a strong privacy policy is to use different passwords for different online payment systems and other system accounts.

Consider The Information You Collect

Cybercriminals know how tempted you’re to click on unfamiliar websites for information search. Therefore, they’ll do all it takes to set a trap through sharing links in spam emails and other messages. Avoid clicking such links and visiting many websites for information search. Also, be wary of the information you collect and where you get it from. This will protect your computer from malware attacks.

Use Many Steps Of Security

Strong authentication protocols like Two-factor authentication (2FA) and multi-factor authentications (MFA) are the most secure ways of increasing layers of security. You can use them alongside strong passwords for added security just in case a hacker finds their way through your employees’ log-in details. This way, you won’t be worried even when using a single password to access several files. You can also take other steps of security such as biometrics (fingerprints, voice access, facial recognition).

Recruit And Train Employees Carefully

Currently, we can’t rule out that employee negligence[5] is one of the most overlooked vulnerabilities when dealing with cyber attacks. So, invest in training employees on basic online security threats and prevention measures. This training should be enforced across the board by developing policies that guide them on the proper handling of sensitive data.

Check And Scan New Devices

Even those not previously Internet-enabled watches are now internet-enabled, meaning hackers can comfortably use them to further their illegal activities. As such, it’s always advisable to check and scan any new device you use in your daily business operations. This should also include personal devices used by employees. 

Annual Checking And Deleting Information

Hackers often look for hints and clues on websites before they orchestrate a cyber attack on your business. That’s why the best way to combat data breaches is to conduct annual checks of what’s relevant and delete everything else you no longer use. Also, clear your browser history and delete cookies every time you visit a website.  

Be Careful With Who And What You Interact On The Internet

These people may disguise themselves as professionals in a certain field with expert knowledge on how to help your business grow. While we have a few genuine ones, conduct a thorough background check of everyone you meet online before sharing any information. Also, avoid information from a sender you do not know. 

Keep An Eye On Your Bank Statements

Bank information is a key accelerator for financial cybercrime[6]. Currently, cybercriminals are using a combination of hacking and social engineering techniques to access bank statements from small to medium-sized businesses. That’s why small business owners need to watch their business bank statements and query any suspicious transactions with the bank. The banks can investigate whether they are fraudulent.

Always Apply Software Updates 

Cyber threats and attacks are on a constant evolution. So, key security systems also need new updates to guarantee continued protection. If left un-updated, operating systems may develop vulnerabilities that hackers know how to exploit. Businesses need to ensure all their systems are updated and ready to tackle the common viruses and malware from hackers.

Buy Insurance

So, consider buying insurance for your business to protect against losses you may incur due to fraudulent activities. This should align with security measures discussed like working with validated tools, ensuring you raise awareness among your employees, and investing in other anti-fraud services.

What To Do If Your Business Data Is Under a Security Breach?

In the digital era, cybercrime prevention may not be enough to prevent a threat to your cyber security. All businesses are vulnerable to cybercrimes if the attackers find a vulnerability. Regardless, this has significant ramifications, especially concerning crucial company data. Take action by following these simple steps if you find out your security is compromised.

Seal And Delete Your Data If Necessary

Lock and change access codes once you notice suspicious activity on your important company files. If possible, mobilize your response team right away to prevent further data loss depending on the nature of the breach and your business structure. Remember to ask your expert team when it is reasonable to delete your data and resume regular operations. 

Take Legal Action

As a small business owner, you need to make bold decisions to ensure business operations are not jeopardized after a cyber attack. One of the decisions includes assembling a team of experts to conduct a comprehensive breach and hiring a legal counsel with data security expertise. 

Inform Your Contacts

Losing sensitive personal information to hackers makes you a potential identity theft or fraud victim. Trying to stay ahead of the hackers by informing your contacts may help avert any danger. If the attackers have stolen your banking information, contact your bank and credit card account companies immediately. Ask them to close the account and resolve any fraudulent transactions.

Use Backup 

You need to perform frequent backups and keep backup data in offsite places to better recover from cyber and ransomware attacks. This is considered a good practice to ensure business continuity if the inevitable happens.

Final Thoughts

Many small businesses have collapsed due to cybercrime-related assaults. If you are a business owner without any familiarity with the security measures you need for your business, your data remains exposed to cyberattacks. Keeping this data safe must happen regularly through software updates, constant employee awareness, and continuous monitoring. The Federal Communications Commission also offers a cybersecurity planning tool to help you develop a cyber security strategy based on your unique business needs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What’s the best way to combat cyber-attacks?

The best way to prevent cyberattacks is to stay vigilant by protecting your information. Most breaches happen due to our negligence. 

What step should take after a compromise on my bank details?

Isolate payment systems and payment processes from the computers you feel are compromised.

How do I know I’ve been hacked?

You’ll experience problems logging into your accounts. Your computer will also experience the startup of unknown programs when switching on.

Is employee training a worthwhile investment in combating cybercrimes?

Yes. Employees from your first defense line in case of a cyberattack. You need to equip them with enough knowledge on how to repel any unauthorized intrusion into your company files.



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