Could Cyber Meddling Affect Your Small Business?
by Stephanie Faris on Monday, May 28, 2018 15:30
You can hardly turn on the news these days without some mention of Russian interference in the U.S. elections. Wherever you fall on the political spectrum, though, if you own a business, the topic of cyber meddling is very relevant to what you do. In a conversation with TechRepublic, attorney Jack Rice recently explained how these attacks could affect even the smallest business.
Businesses of all sizes face security risks, particularly if they aren't proactive in preventing them. In recent years, U.S. businesses have been primarily concerned with data breaches, fearing that their sensitive customer data will fall in the wrong hands. While this is a very real risk, cyber meddlers are more interested in causing trouble than stealing and selling information.
Hacking attempts are nothing new. For years, tech-savvy criminals have gotten a thrill out of taking down entire networks just for the fun of it. The government has expressed concern specifically about businesses that operate within its supply chain. Vendors from small to large who provide services or products to federal agencies may face more of a risk in this scenario.
The IoT Impact
Late last year, the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) issued a warning about hackers potentially targeting network infrastructure devices. These include all of the Internet of Things (IoT) items that power homes and even businesses today. As internet-connected appliances, alarm systems, vehicles, and more flood the marketplace, hackers are expected to begin to target these items.
If cyber meddling comes into play, this could be even more serious. At some point they could launch a multipoint denial of service (DoS) attack that could take down websites, render appliances unusable, cause cars to malfunction, and more. With businesses relying so heavily on technology, this type of attack could be devastating.
Protect Against Attack
Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to 100 percent foolproof your business against cyber meddlers. Top-quality antivirus software and firewalls on your network can help, but hackers can stay one step ahead of those. At the very least, you may be passed over for another business that's slightly easier to infiltrate.
If your business does suffer an attack, you'll need to know as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, there are many other conditions that can cause these symptoms, so you'll need to carefully check your system logs to see exactly what is happening behind the scenes. But if you suddenly notice unusually sluggish network performance, there could be something happening on your servers. The first sign of a DoS attack on your website is usually from one of your customers trying to access it. Such an attack can take your site offline for days, requiring you to work with your host to get things online again. Check with your website provider to determine if there's anything you can do to make sure your site is easily recoverable after an attack.
Most businesses see I.T. security as a top concern moving forward. It's important to make sure you have a plan in place to keep your business safe from cyber meddling and cybercrime so that you can provide the best possible service to your customers.