According to research, there were 80,000 cyberattacks per day or over 30 million attacks in the year 2018. It is easy to think as a small to midsize business that you would not be the typical target for cybercriminals. Still, the reality is that 43 percent of cyber attacks target small businesses. Surveys show that 70 percent of small businesses are unprepared to handle a cyberattack. The question then becomes, “Are you?”

It is vital to understand the rising threat to small and midsize businesses from cybercriminals to keep your business healthy and thriving. Here are two steps you can take to protect your customers and your business.

Step One: Strengthen Your Defenses

Malware, otherwise known as malicious software, is any piece of software created with the intent of harming data, devices, or people. Malware may include viruses, trojans, spyware, ransomware, worms, adware, file-less malware, or hybrid attacks. Your computer is the first defense against malicious actors.

Here are five tips to strengthen your computer’s defenses against cybercriminals.

  • A firewall creates a barrier between your computer and the Internet, just like a door keeps the nasty weather out of your house. Never turn off your computer’s firewall. Turning it off, even for a minute, increases risk.
  • Install antivirus software from a trusted source.
  • Regularly update your applications and operating system.
  • Please make sure the software you are using is still supported and being updated by its author.
  • Uninstall unused software you use on Windows. You can remove it using Programs and Features in Control Panel.

Step Two: Do Not Be Fooled

Phishing is a common type of cyberattack where malicious actors randomly send an email to a broad audience to trick people into providing sensitive information. More targeted attacks are called spear phishing, which is an email with a specific target. Research shows that 91 percent of successful data breaches are because of phishing. It is essential to know what these attacks look like to prepare yourself for when it happens.

Below is an email message that threat actors sent to thousands of top U.S. executives. It appeared to be an official subpoena from the U.S. District Court in San Diego. Each message included executive-specific information and directed him or her to appear before a grand jury.

Phishing Warning

The message urged the recipient to use an embedded link to open the subpoena. However, anyone who clicked the link unwittingly installed software that secretly captured passwords, usernames, account numbers, and other company data.

This example is a great way to illustrate the importance of keeping your Antivirus software up to date, applications patched, and your browser’s phishing and malware protection enabled. All these measures, and more, are layers to protect your devices and network. Keep in mind; software can be deceptive. A malicious popup can make commonly used buttons to do any action they want.

Working Together to Better Protect Your Business

Working with an experienced technology partner can help decrease your chances of a successful cyberattack. Security protocols and compliance requirements can be tricky. It may be necessary to get an opinion from the professional, especially when developing new systems and implementing new technologies. The Bauen Group is a team of IT experts that can help identify your needs, build tailored solutions, and assist in the maintenance of software licensing, helping you meet compliance requirements and protect your livelihood. If you have cybersecurity questions or do not know where to start, a member of the Bauen team is on standby to help.