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Cyber Criminals Looking at Small Businesses as Potential Targets

Date: 03/22/2006 | Category: Business | Author: Diana Heeb Bivona

Many small business owners do not list computer and internet security as issues high on their agenda of concerns. However, they should for several reasons. While you may think that hackers like to target larger companies in order to “bring them to their kneesâ€?, this would be an incorrect perception. In most cases, attacks are random. The hacker is simply looking for an unprotected system that they can hijack in order to spread their spam, worms or viruses.

Larger companies have tightened their security to the point where small business networks are looking more tempting to cyber criminals. Small businesses often lack the skills or financial resources necessary to protect their data and prevent such attacks. The result of one such attack can prove devastating to a small business owner on several fronts.

In 2004, cyber crime cost companies and individuals approximately $400 billion. More alarming is the fact that the FBI reports only 5% of these cyber criminals are ever caught. Can you survive the loss of customers and revenue, the expense of repairing your system, and retrieving data, a potential attack could cost you?

Computer and Internet security is a must for a small business owner. If you have not already done so, you should have your network evaluated by a qualified professional that can assist you in setting up the necessary protection.

Additionally, there are several simple and cost-effective methods you can use to reduce your overall risk such as:

  • Using strong passwords of at least seven characters and changing them regularly;
  • Beware of e-mail attachments and mail from unknown sources;
  • Install and maintain anti-virus programs and a firewall;
  • Remove unused software and user accounts;
  • Create backups for important files, folders and software;
  • Keep current on software updates; and
  • Limit access to sensitive and confidential data.

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