Top 10 Small Business IT Questions
#4 How do I protect myself from hackers?
Hackers are people that want to get access to your computer network and access your data from your servers and computers.
A few year ago, hackers would most often gain access through your wireless network. Hopefully, we’ve all secured our wireless networks and have these access points protected with hard-to-break passwords.
Today, hackers may get access by stealing equipment. Laptops, desktop computers, servers, USB drives, and phones can be a “jackpot” for hackers. Most small businesses don’t secure their equipment with cables and physical locks. Additionally, when equipment is stolen if your data is not encrypted, your storage device is easily accessible and can be moved right onto the hacker’s computer.
Believe it or not, the most common way hackers access your information is by invitation. An employee invites a hacker into the system without their knowledge. This may happen when opening an email attachment that looks like an electronic birthday card from a friend. Once the file is opened (by clicking on it) a program is installed onto your computer and notification is sent to the hacker that it has successfully infiltrated your system. Another common way a hacker gains access is by an employee accessing a website on the internet that contains a hackers program. If you don’t have updated anti-virus or anti-malware software installed software on your computer you will not even know it has happened.
One of the most frustrating attacks, sadly, is also becoming more common. Crypto Locking programs encrypt your files so you can’t use your computer. The only way to eliminate this program is to completely wipe out your hard drive and restore from a backup. If you don’t have a backup then you are held ransom. Typically the hackers demand “ransom money”, usually about $500, to “release” your data. The payment is made in bitcoin – the new online currency that is hard to trace.
As we’ve seen recently it’s getting more and more difficult to keep hackers out. Like most criminals, they look for the easiest prey. So please, don’t make it easier by inviting them in.
Array can help ensure your company’s computer systems are protected.