If you think you are not a target, think again.
A business with less than 10 devices also needs to take measures to setup its cyber defense. For instance, Jorge owns a real estate business in Los Angeles. He started his first office in Boyle Heights and over the years he has expanded to 4 locations in just a short 5 year run. His real estate detail database and great customer service are what keep customers coming back. He keeps his overhead low by computerizing most of his business operations. One night, a computer virus took hold of the office network and everything went to crap. That month he lost $100,000 worth of business and that year he had to close his location to keep his business from dipping into the red.
OMG, what happened?
Jorge is a victim of ransomware attack. A computer extortion malware found its way to one of his computers and it infected all 8 computers used in his office. Once infected, the computers wouldn’t start and it will only show this message:
We are a professional hacker group. We now have put a virtual lock on your computer and its data. Unless you pay us $20,000, we will never unlock your PC. Hahaha.
Instantly he has lost all his client and real estate data that he has accumulated in the last 5 years. Since he could not function without his computers and data, he decided to pay. After sending the ransom payment by bitcoin, he waited for days but still no one reached out to him to unlock his computers! At the end, he suffered business losses. He could have avoided all this trouble had he spent more effort in setting up his cyber defense…
Every day more than 500 millions virus emails are sent out by professional cyber thieves. When an unsuspecting business owner clicks on one of these emails, money can be stolen, customer or business data can be removed, privacy can be lost, reputation can be tarnished and businesses can go belly up!
OK, I’m scared now. WHAT SHOULD I DO!?”
There are basic steps a business owner can take to setup its cyber defense to stop most forms of cyber attacks.
- Install anti-virus software
- Keep your Windows or Mac operating system up to date
- Use strong passwords to lock your computer
- Put a password on your WiFi
- Ask an IT professional to install a firewall on your office network
- Backup of your data periodically into a secure cloud (e.g. ShareFile)
- Never trust an email 100%, even if it is coming from a person or company you know — they can be a fake (people often fall for fake emails coming from your CEO, manager or spouse)
- Don’t use public Wi-Fi for business work
- Turn your computer off when not in use
- Don’t install apps from unknown sources
- Don’t visit unknown/unfamiliar website
- Use two-factor authentication where possible – especially bank accounts or social media accounts
How much is my cyber defense going to cost my business?
Most of the cyber defense can be set up free. However, here are some major items a business owner might need to pay.
- Anti-virus software $200 one-time
- Automatic backup software for the whole office $1,000 one-time
- Firewall $500 one-time
- Security consultant (to set up) $200 per hour
Although putting these up is not cheap, it is better than putting one’s business at risk.
If you need Camino Financial to refer you to someone, simply call us at (800) 852-0655.
Further Reading: What is the Best Anti-virus for 2017?