Cyber attacks against small businesses are increasing each year. Whether you are answering email, storing data files or running a website, your small business faces risks from doing business online.

Most recently, hackers have been focused on stealing money directly from small businesses. Some cyber criminals are using tricks to commit cyber fraud and drain your bank account. Others are using schemes to lock up your computer, hold your files hostage and demand a ransom fee to return them.

Cyber thieves use two main techniques to steal and extort money from small businesses — social engineering fraud and phishing campaigns. Both tricks are about gaining your trust, asking for help and offering a reward.

Your small business can pay a heavy price for becoming a target of one of these scams. According to FBI statistics, hackers have been able to steal billions of dollars over the last few years using these tactics.

To avoid becoming another statistic, it’s important to educate yourself about the increasing cyber attacks against small businesses and learn what actions you can take to protect your business.

Cyber Attacks against Small Businesses: Social Engineering Fraud

Social engineering fraud involves tricking a person into revealing payment credentials that can be used to steal from an organization. Often, the hacker impersonates a senior employee, boss, CEO or VIP client through an email directed at a junior employee. The hacker asks for help completing an urgent online business transaction or wire transfer. With the junior employee’s help, the hacker can quickly steal the business funds and disappear.

Social engineering fraud relies on establishing trust with someone at your business under false pretenses. The fraudster asks for help and the request is always urgent. The person being impersonated is almost always someone in high authority that the junior employee respects and wants to impress.

To prevent social engineering fraud at your small business, the right employee training and security safeguards are key:

  • Train employees on social engineering fraud risk.
  • Control access to payment and transfer details.
  • Never share confidential info over phone or email.
  • Verify customer or vendor info for change requests.
  • Always call ahead before making any large transfers.
  • Double-check account numbers before you hit send.
  • Report any suspicious emails or phone calls to IT.

Cyber Attacks against Small Businesses: Phishing

Phishing campaigns involve tricking a person into compromising their computer system by giving away their password or downloading a malicious file. Often a hacker sends a phishing campaign email impersonating a coworker, IT department or familiar vendor. Messages alert you to a new invoice, suspicious account activity or payment problem. The hacker provides a link to click to log in to your account or download an important document. Once you do, the hacker has access to your business computer systems.

A phishing campaign can turn into a ransomware attack once the hacker has access to your system. The hacker installs a malicious program that encrypts your data so you can’t access your files. Then, hacker demands a ransom in cryptocurrency to release your files.

The hacker may also steal a copy of your data and expose private information to coerce a payment. Even if you pay, there’s no guarantee you’ll get your files back and the damage to your reputation and business can be costly.

To prevent a phishing campaign and ransomware attack, the proper employee training and security protections are a must:

  • Train employees to recognize phishing attempts.
  • Back up systems securely with offline storage.
  • Install new security patches and software updates.
  • Turn on two-factor authentication for login access.
  • Scan and filter email and web traffic for better safety.
  • Monitor the network for unusual or suspicious activity.
  • Limit access to protect employees and company data.
  • Create an incident response plan to minimize risk.

Why Choose CyberLock Defense Coverage?

These days, small businesses face several cybersecurity threats. Social engineering fraud, phishing campaigns and ransomware attacks can devastate your business and drain your bank account. Even with the right training and safeguards, a hacker may one day get through, so it’s important to protect yourself.

CyberLock Defense provides insurance to small businesses to protect you from the costs associated with cyber crime. Our coverage features broad protection for social engineering fraud, phishing scams and ransomware—plus coverage for data breach, business interruption, legal costs and more. CyberLock Defense offers industry-leading cyber liability protection for your small business.