Do you know that small businesses make soft targets for hackers? A report by the National Cyber Security Alliance highlights that 43% of cyberattacks are aimed at small businesses. Unfortunately, many small business owners believe otherwise because they are too small or do not have valuable data. They often get complacent with security or overlook it due to cash constraints. But the truth is that any business can fall victim to a cyber-attack, regardless of size.
The good news is that you can follow some early warning signs to understand impending threats and strategize to save your organization from them. Failing to pay attention can be fatal because statistics show that small companies that experience a cyber-attack are at risk of going out of business within six months. Even if they manage to survive, the loss of customer trust and reputation can ruin everything. You can watch out for these warning signs and act fast to ensure that your business doesn’t become a statistic!
Sign #1- Unfamiliar programs or files
Start by looking for unfamiliar programs or files on your computer system. In fact, you may notice them even if you aren’t actively searching for anomalies in your system. Any new applications or files that you don't recognize are red flags. They could be a sign of malware or a virus, which may cause bigger problems sooner than later. It's important to scan your system for viruses and remove any suspicious files as soon as possible. Running updated anti-virus software on them is even more crucial.
Sign #2- Suspicious emails
Like going after unfamiliar files and programs, you must also pay attention to suspicious emails from unknown sources. Even the most harmless ones may land your small business in big trouble with a hacking attack. Phishing emails are a common tactic attackers use to gain access to sensitive information. Be cautious if you get any emails asking for personal information or login credentials. Look for signs of phishing, such as grammatical errors or typos. Also, no one in your team should on links in suspicious emails.
Sign #3- Unusual network activity
Unusual network activity is one of the most common warning signs indicating high risk for small businesses. It could include slow internet speeds, an increase in spam emails, and unexplained network crashes. You must investigate these issues and take action as soon as possible. The best way to do it is to rent a hacker to dig deep into the concerns because they know how real hackers may compromise your email, social media, and networks. They can also check personal devices if you allow employees to use them to access business data and networks.
Sign #4- Outdated software and tools
Software and tools enhance process efficiency and employee productivity, but they can do more harm than good if someone compromises them. Outdated software can put your small business at risk of hacking. Always keep all software up-to-date as they have patches for potential vulnerabilities. You can use them without second thoughts when you have the latest versions.
Sign #5- Login issues
When you or your team members have issues logging into your company's network or online accounts, it is definitely a reason to worry. It could be a sign of an impending cyber-attack on your small business. Hackers may try to change login credentials to gain access to confidential information and seize it. The best way to defend your organization from the risk is to monitor login activity and enforce password changes regularly. Educate employees to be aware and report issues at the earliest.
Sign #6- Unexplained financial transactions
Unexplained financial transactions could be more than employee fraud, so you must take them very seriously. Surprisingly, they could be a warning sign of a cyber-attack on your small business. Besides verifying your employees, you must be aware that hackers try to steal money by accessing company accounts. They may even use stolen credit card information to dig into your accounts. Keep a close eye on them, and report any suspicious activity to your bank.
Cyber risks run high for small businesses, but most are easy to prevent if you act fast. Everything boils down to being vigilant because there are several warning signs that your systems and data may be at risk of hacking. Also, take proactive steps to protect your business to reduce the risk of a cyber-attack. Never miss these warning signs because they can point to a threat that may be far more daunting than you imagine.