Crooks have redoubled their efforts to target small businesses in the wake of the late 2013 Target breach.
Following the Target breach, every major publicly traded corporation in both the United States and Europe has been working to beef up security. Small businesses, however, don't have the luxury of IT departments or technology departments to do that. So crooks have pivoted to the easy pickings.
According to a recent New York Times story, more than 10% of small businesses have now had funds stolen from bank accounts, with loses amounting in the billions.
Under the current law, a business is not protected by a bank when a hacker breaks into a business account. So a business that you spent years or decades building -- or even generations if it's a family business -- could be out of business overnight.
Here are my tips for protecting yourself if you're a small business owner:
- A common point of breach is when a criminal attempts to set up overseas wires from your account. Contact your bank and request double or dual authentication on any wires. That means a wire won't automatically take place when someone requests it. The bank must take the additional step of getting a second go ahead from someone at your business -- in writing, in person -- before completing it.
- Talk with your insurance agent about fraud insurance. It's dirt cheap but almost nobody buys it.
- Get a dedicated computer for financial transactions. By doing this, you can show you took due care under the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). No surfing the web on your dedicated computer. No e-mailing. And definitely no visiting Facebook or Twitter, as social media is one of the main entry points for business hackers today.
- What kind of password do you have on your router? You need some kind of goofy password -- even if it's hard for employees to remember.
- Don't forget about antivirus on your computer!
For further reading:
- Free websites for small businesses
- How you're being tracked at work
- Best websites to get a small business loan