Cyber threat to small businesses

DearProfessor Bruce, I’m a small CPA getting my business website ready for the last
minute tax rush. Do I need to worry about the security of my website, or is
that just something for banks and big ecommerce companies?


Big companies have big budgets in place to protect their businesses hackers are now turning to smaller unprotected, websites. Small Business attacks are the number one cyber threat to look out for in 2013, according to a recent Fox Business News report. In fact, the 2012 Verizon Data Breach Report highlights that the majority of the data breaches they analyzed were perpetrated against smaller firms, not Fortune 500 companies or powerhouse ecommerce vendors. Unfortunately many small business owners see themselves as too small to be a target, but the cyber-criminals don’t discriminate — if they
can break-in, they will. Once they hack in they can take control of a website and use it to swipe information from visitors, send spam emails, or launch attacks on other sites.

“Hackers have begun focusing on small businesses” notes Chris Weltzien, CEO at website
security firm 6Scan. “At smaller companies security is not always a priority,
but the damage these attacks can cause is huge. Nearly 15 million Google queries per day show a “hacked site” warning. It’s important business owners realize they need to secure their websites they way they secure their PCs.” A Google “hacked site” warning occurs
when a website has been hacked and is no longer safe for customers to visit. Google will blacklist the site until it is repaired. While this can be resolved in a few days the damage it does to your reputation will last a lot longer

Some basic security tips can be used by any company. These include making sure you have backups of your website, so if something happens you can always rebuild from the start. Also make sure you are running the latest version of your content management systems and any plug-ins. Third, make sure your website administrator is using a secure computer whenever they login. For an additional peace of mind you can test your website security by using a vulnerability scanner designed for small websites. Free versions of these tools can be found online.

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