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Common Small Business Cyber Attacks

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By Debbie Gregory.

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Let us begin with a frightening statistic!  Do you know that every three- and one-half seconds brand new cybersecurity threats arise?  Small businesses are typically the targets for these threats as they typically do not have strong cybersecurity practices. This article will review where the most common threats come from so you can be forewarned and forearmed.

1.)  Passwords:

A hacker with your password can access any of your private information and data. Hackers learn these passwords in a variety of ways.  The most common way is called a “brute force attack.” These types of attacks utilize specially designed bot programs that generate and try every possible combination of letters, symbols, and numbers out there to obtain your information.

How can you protect against this type of attack?

Creating and using a unique password of upper and lowercase letters that is at least ten characters long can substantially slow down these brute force program attacks. It can take them years to find your password if it is more complex.  It is also important that you do not use the same password over and over and you frequently change your passwords.

2.)  Phishing

Phishing is a technique used to trick people into willingly handing over their information to a hacker. These types of attacks target all types of personal data including, but not limited to passwords, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, and more.

How are these types of attacks performed?

Usually a hacker will pose as a reputable source asking their victim to allow them access to their computer or to click a specific link. They impress upon their victims that the reason for doing so is incredibly important and they must provide key personal information. These types of attacks happen via phone, email, and text message.  Often, they have what appears to be a legitimate email address but when you really look at it, you will see they are not who they pretend to be.   Be on the alert and never ever click on a link or open a document from someone you do not know or a generic email address because they are after your personal information.

3.)  Pharming:

Pharming is the term for website spoofing. In this type of attack, the hacker has compromised the naming system in the website’s server so that a visitor to the legitimate site is instead redirected to a fraudulent one. Once on the fraudulent site, the victim is prompted to provide their sensitive data, such as a credit card number or Social Security number.

4.) Malware

Malware is malicious software that is specifically designed to gain access to or to cause damage to a device. The goal is usually stealing personal data such as passwords, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, and more. Malware comes in many forms from adware to spyware to Trojan horses. All are extremely dangerous.

These are only a few of the potential risks your business faces. Other common attacks include point-of-sale hacks, drive-by-downloads, and ones that are so new they haven’t even been named yet. The best thing you can do is to take the time and effort to create and enforce strong cybersecurity policies. Stay on top of what is happening in the world of cybersecurity and help protect yourself, your employees, and your business.

How You Can Improve Cybersecurity for Your Business

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By Nick Porter – Guest Blogger


Whatever industry you’re in, having a strong online presence is vital to any business hoping to grow to its fullest potential, and in many cases, it’s necessary to operate. To that end, much like you need to protect physical business assets, you need to protect your online presence as well. People care and will check if your website is safe. Cybercriminals are constantly operating, and they are usually organized.

While cybersecurity is a complex topic, here is some of the basic information you can use to get started protecting your online presence:

The Human Factor

When running a business, the absolute most important thing to remember about cybersecurity is that human error is responsible for the vast majority of successful cyberattacks. Whether it’s lax security, mixing personal and business accounts, or other common lapses in judgment, hackers use social engineering techniques far more often than the type of brute force hacking you might first think of.

You need to make sure your staff is trained and remember that the weakest link in the chain is going to be the one that causes issues. As easy as it might seem to let things go at some point, it won’t be easy to deal with the fallout of a data breach.


Lock Down Your Website

Depending on your business and website, it could have valuable information attached to it or have accounts related. Many websites are different, and so specific recommendations here as to how to best secure your site wouldn’t be effective. However, you should invest in an SSL certificate, use tools or plugins to secure your website (and update them), and check for potential exploits.


Implement Strict and Formal Policies

Related to the importance of reducing human error is the fact that businesses that have a formal cybersecurity plan (for both prevention and response) will be less susceptible and less damaged by cybersecurity threats. Take some time to develop it with whoever is on your IT team, and make sure everyone is on the same page once it is complete.


Common Threats

Here are some of the most common threats and issues you or your team may encounter:

  • Phishing Scams: Either through email or phone (or on occasion other methods), a scammer will attempt to get login or other information out of you or one of your team members, and then either use it against your system or for profit. This is where having strict cybersecurity pol
  • Malware: If you don’t have proper firewalls and cybersecurity suites installed on office computers, malware can cause a wide range of malicious effects, ranging from stealing data to slowing down (or even ruining) your computers. Instruct employees to stay off of suspicious sites and be careful of unknown files.
  • Ransomware: A specific type of malware that will hold a device or data hostage until you send money. Never pay those responsible what they want under any circumstances.
  • DDoS Attacks: Effectively, hackers, through various means, can try to overload requests to your server. It’s unlikely for a business to be a victim but know that data is relatively safe (even if your business is disrupted).
  • SQL Injection Attacks: An injection of code into your website that exploits a vulnerability on your website. These types of attacks can affect your site, allow hackers to access data, and more.


Update and Adapt Regularly

Cybercriminals and cybercriminal organizations are regularly going to use new social engineering tactics and tools, and as such you need to adapt regularly and keep abreast of what you should look out for. Learn about recent common scams, update your applications and security programs, and review your business cybersecurity strategy at least every six months.



In some ways, this article is only breaching the surface when it comes to cybersecurity for your business, but you must start with the basics and the important tasks listed above. The sooner you get these items taken care of, the sooner you can settle into a routine for it and otherwise focus on growth and the other things that matter. We hope that this information proved useful and wish you success in your future endeavors.


An additional source for your online security:


Nick Porter is a writer and blogger who is especially interested in Cyber Security and Digital Marketing.  Sharing his knowledge to help his readers be more productive with social media and SEO brings him great joy! He also enjoys educating readers on more effective online security controls.

Tips to Protect your Company from Phishing Attacks

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By Debbie Gregory.

Phishing is the fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by disguising as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication, often times directing users to enter personal information at a fake website nearly identical to the legitimate site. Spear phishing is a targeted aimed at a specific victim.

These two cyberattacks can put your business is at risk if you don’t take the proper steps to thwart them.

A phishing email will attempt to trick you into thinking it is from a legitimate, trusted source. Of course, you wouldn’t just give out passwords to a stranger, but if you think the email is from someone you trust, you might.

A spear phishing email appears to be from a very specific sender. For example, the email could look like it’s from your IT services provider, using identical colors, logo, contact name, and even an email address that’s very close to the correct email address.

So how do you spot the fakes and protect your company?

Training and educating your employees is priority one. When your staff understands what to look for to identify these scams, they will be able to avoid opening and responding to the wrong emails. Check not only the email address the email appears to come from, but also check to make sure it’s not a spoofed email address. Also, look for typos and mistakes in grammar.

Hover your mouse over any links embedded in the body of the email. If the link address looks weird, don’t click on it. Also, analyze the salutation. Legitimate businesses will often use a personal salutation with your first and last name.

Another weapon in your arsenal should be limiting administrative access to your company’s social media channels. Cybercriminals may try to get you to access a file that deploys in your system and copies your entire contact list. Then the criminals can access all of your contacts’ data, not just the company’s data.

If you can spot the irregularities in these communications, then you can avoid the scams. Start by checking. If it does not match a legitimate web presence that you can search for online, then do not open it. It’s likely a scam.