Fast Money Blog
Take a Byte Out of CyberCrime
We’ve all heard about computer viruses and hackers and online scams of just about every kind. To find out about the latest threat, we need to look no further than the news.
There are common themes. A mega-corporation has its computer systems held for ransom… a government gets spied on... or someone sends money to complete strangers who promise to show up with a fortune (if only someone could help them buy a plane ticket).
Those are all popular anecdotes. As a result, small businesses may consider themselves safe from getting targeted as they generally don’t have the massive deep pockets, major political agendas nor illusions of getting rich quick that typify those other victims.
The truth is no one is immune. And here’s why—the vast majority of cybercriminals do not sit around reading the Wall Street Journal looking for their next high-profile corporate victims. They are busy scanning, scanning, scanning the internet, looking for weaknesses in commercial computer systems—and trying to exploit them. It doesn’t matter what type of business it is or where it is located.
The only motivator is easy money.
The crimes are varied and extensive. And they’re hard to trace—perpetrators may be halfway around the world, hidden in an electronic soup that leads nowhere. Even if a foreign entity is suspected, navigating international law enforcement would be dicey at best.
If anyone is the victim of cybercrime, it should be reported to the authorities, of course. But the reality is that those agencies do not have the resources to rescue every single casualty.
Fortunately, there are several safeguards that businesses of all sizes can implement to protect themselves.
Remember to take some common-sense steps
It’s important to keep an eye on account balances and look for anything out of the ordinary. You can help that along by using online banking to set up automated alerts for transactions and withdrawals.
Also, limit computer access to only those who need it within your organization, with certain usage even further restricted. That is, only accountants need access to accounting interfaces and software. And a password manager app can help protect access to those systems—it’s much safer than a secret access code being scribbled on a sticky note somewhere (not so secret).
Cybersecurity software is a must have, too. And it has gotten much easier to manage. With cloud computing, cloud security software goes hand in hand. For a reasonable subscription fee per month or per year, security software is updated constantly. As crooks get smarter, the protection gets smarter, too. Much easier than in the past when some security software took up a lot of memory on one’s operating systems and had to be patched and updated regularly.
You can learn more about these helpful tips right here, through Bank of Colorado’s cybersecurity guidelines and find other resources, such as this helpful government website for small business owners, available through CISA.gov.
Cybercrime is global. But it concerns our customers right here at home.