Experts say it’s likely that multiple companies will be hacked at same time this year.

WannaCry isn’t the first cyber attack this year, and it won’t be the last.

Just days before hackers held data from 300,000 computers ransom around the world, a survey by insurance company American International Group was released stating 90 percent of cyber security and risk experts believe that simultaneous attacks on multiple companies are likely to occur within the year.

“This paints a picture of large systemic events we might see including disruption to financial networks or transaction systems, internet infrastructure, the powergrid, and health care system,” the report says.

Hackers target businesses with outdated software, so computers that aren’t constantly being updated are most at risk. Hackers  started using software to hold computer users’ data hostage and delete it unless they pay — sometimes thousands of dollars.

The damaging software is being referred to as ransomware. WannaCry stole only $300 from users, but on a much larger scale — a worldwide scale, with hits seen in 99 countries.

Are small businesses protecting themselves?

The rate of cyber attacks has been increasing over the past few years. Forty percent of hacks to businesses in the U.K. doubled from 2015 to 2016. The increase of attacks raises the question: What are companies doing, and how can they better protect their data from a breach?

Though the attacks are increasing, companies still don’t see themselves at much of a risk. According to Towergate Insurance, 82 percent of small businesses feel they’re not targets for attacks, because they don’t have anything worth stealing — something they are very wrong about.

Small businesses are definitely a target for hackers. Though it isn’t heard about often, small businesses have more data assets with less security. Which makes it unfortunate more small businesses aren’t doing as much as they can to protect themselves. Six out of 10 small businesses will go out of business within six months, and trust is a major factor.

How can small businesses protect themselves?

Cyber attack insurance is out of the budget for most small businesses, ranging in price from $10,000 to $35,000 for $1 million in coverage. Finding ways to protect themselves, and a plan to notify users immediately if a data breach occurs, should be on the minds of small businesses owners.

Many small businesses don’t have IT workers on their payroll, so there a few small things that these companies can do to protect themselves from being the next identity theft victims.

Make sure to install and update security software. Avoid opening suspicious website links and attachments. Frequently update passwords even if you think they aren’t predictable.

Educate the staff on what cybersecurity is, and make sure everybody takes responsibility. Employees are often the greatest target because they lack training and often don’t think about it while on the job.

Training seminars, and initiating a conversation on cyber security can help spread awareness throughout the company to avoid the issue.

Create a plan for handling a cyber breach. If data theft occurs, small businesses need to know how to minimize the damage to consumers and their reputation.

Technology has made it much easier to own and operate a small business, but with that flexibility comes increased responsibility. Or as AIG’s report states, “Businesses, cities, and people need to start thinking differently about their cyber security vulnerabilities, placing data on the cloud, and using interconnected machinery and devices may materially change their risk profile.”

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Meet the Author

Joe Pye

Joe Pye

Associate editor

Pye is the associate editor of Debt.com.

Tech

identity theft, scams

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Article last modified on May 20, 2018 Published by Debt.com, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Banks At Highest Risk For Hack - AMP.