Valley First

Business Advice on Cyber Fraud

Protecting your business from fraud—Don't be a target

We’re too small. We don’t have anything cyber criminals would want. Security is too expensive. These all tend to be reasons businesses use to justify ignoring information security. Unfortunately, this casual attitude doesn’t prevent a business becoming a fraud target.

Even the smallest businesses have an online presence. And the increasing interconnectedness with technical systems leaves businesses at increased risk. The reality is every company, big or small, holds information such as social insurance numbers, password credentials to online banking, or customer information that is easily monetized by criminals. Happily, there are some simple steps any business can take to improve their security.

Change default passwords and account names
Installing hardware or software, a wireless router for example, out of the box without reconfiguring the default passwords is one of the most common security mistakes businesses make, but one that is easily corrected. Leaving the default passwords is an open invitation for hackers to gain access since these original settings are publicly known and readily available.

Update your computer operating systems and applications
Manufacturers release security updates often and generally on a defined schedule. Configure your operating system to automatically update and install security patches—it’s the equivalent of getting regular exercise for your systems. Common applications such as Adobe Reader and Java should be set to auto update as well.

Install security software (antivirus/antimalware/firewall) on all your computers
You don’t have to break the bank with security suites as there are several free options available for businesses online. Again make sure they are set with automatic updates.

Keep personal and business systems separate
Most people would think twice about letting their kids come to the office and play online games or browse Facebook as it can open you up to all kinds of security risks. Just because your office may be the kitchen table to living room couch, doesn’t mean you should treat access to your computer systems or customer information differently. Wherever possible, try to keep business access and personal access separate.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t require a big security budget or dedicated IT security team to keep you relatively secure. By following some simple steps you make it that much harder for cybercriminals. And remember, You don’t have to aim for perfect security, simply focus your security resources on not being an easy target.


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