The world of cybersecurity and network security can seem overwhelming for business owners, especially small business owners. Many feel overwhelmed because they believe that they need to add cybersecurity infrastructure to their network and hire a team of network engineers to protect their business from cyberattacks. However, cyber attack prevention for small business owners doesn’t have to be complicated. Network security is more accessible than ever before, continue reading below for tips and tricks to protect your information.
Why Cybersecurity Is Important
As a small business owner, it is easy to underestimate the importance of cybersecurity. You may decide that the risk of cyber attacks is less than the resources it would require to protect your business. However, neglecting your business’s cybersecurity doesn’t just put your data at risk; it puts your clients’ data at risk too.
A recent example of this was when TJ Maxx had a large amount of their credit card info stolen. The security breach didn’t actually come from TJ Maxx. The hackers accessed the information through the HVAC company that serviced their air systems. So, as a small business owner, while you may think you are an unlikely target, you may be the entryway to a much larger target.
How to Protect Your Business from Ridiculous Cyber Attacks
One of the cybersecurity attacks that has grown in popularity is what many people in cybersecurity refer to as “ridiculous cyber attacks.” These are cyber attacks that are so bad that it seems ridiculous that people would fall for them. They pose as a member of your company and ask people to send eBay gift cards or send links that will download malware if clicked on.
These cyber attacks are ineffective most of the time. What they rely on is that you or your employees are busy and dealing with too many emails to look too closely. If they did, they would see the super dodgy email address or the grammatically incorrect email body.
Bryan Crain, a Systems Engineer and Director of Cybersecurity at Geo Owl, says that the most efficient way to increase a small business’s cybersecurity is to educate human users. Conduct regular training with your employees to ensure they take an extra half a second to view the sender’s email address and to hover over the link before clicking. This training could also include information about your company’s policies so your employees know that they will never be asked to send an eBay gift card or other common scams. It should also address what employees should do if they are unsure about the legitimacy of an email.
Human education is the easiest way to reduce the risk of these cyber attacks on your small business. Even with a sophisticated cybersecurity system and a full team, it is impossible to filter out all cyber attack emails because cyber attack tactics change all the time.
The Future of AI-Driven Cyber Attacks
AI advancements are making businesses of all sizes more efficient – including scammers. Bryan Crain predicts that AI image generators and Deep Fake technology will pose a security risk in the future.
Currently, this technology allows people to generate a video of their friend singing a song by inputting images or videos of their friend. AI capabilities will also allow scammers to generate video content of you or your employees by using your social media content to mimic your image and voice.
Bryan Crain suggests small business owners start by educating their employees that this technology exists and it is possible that they may be used by scammers. This will ensure your staff think critically about the messages they receive and raise any that seem suspicious. From there, your company can decide on a policy to protect your business and employees from these Deep Fake scams.
Is TikTok a Network Security Threat?
There has been much discussion about whether or not TikTok is a national security threat, but does TikTok pose a security threat to small businesses?
Bryan Crain reminds everyone that social media platforms collect data from all users. If you check the permissions you give each app, they’ll collect things like location data, your name, your contacts, and your IP address. TikTok is of special concern from a national security and network security perspective because it is run by a Chinese company, and the Chinese government has a large amount of oversight of Chinese businesses. However, even American social media platforms collect the same types of data.
In addition to the data that social media platforms automatically collect when you consume and post content, social media platforms also collect and analyze data from the content you share. From a business perspective, that means that small business owners should be careful what they and their employees post. While small businesses are prioritizing behind-the-scenes content to grow their followings and engagement, businesses should be careful not to accidentally share sensitive information.
Employees’ care with social media is just as important as business owners taking care on social media as social media location data can be cross-referenced easily. Bryan Crain gave an example of federal employees being careful with what they post on social media only to be cross-referenced against their kids’ social media content. A business owner may know better than to take photos or videos in rooms where there is likely to be sensitive information, but employees may not think about that. The issue is that location data and IP addresses can link that employee to you and your business.
More Information on Cybersecurity and Network Security
This article was taken from a conversation on the NDS Show Podcast with Geo Owl System Engineer Bryan Crain about cyber attack awareness and the future of intelligence operations. Watch the full episode on YouTube to learn about how technology advancements will impact daily life and the future of intelligence. Subscribe to The NDS Show on YouTube to stay up to date with the latest in the geospatial intelligence field.