Cybersecurity: Small Businesses Not Immune From Hackers

I got a call from my bank this month and they wanted to know if I had made $135 worth of purchases at Starbucks.

Blank stare.

I had made no such purchases but it seems somehow my bank card was compromised and someone bought a round for the house.

The same thing happened to a good friend of mine and my favorite app Buffer was also recently hacked this month. They handled the whole ordeal splendidly I might add. Someone took PR Crisis Management for Businesses and it shows!

Since it’s National Cyber Security Month, it seems like a good time for all of us, especially business owners to review how we can keep our businesses safe online.

file9791234819983First a few stats from Homeland Security.

  • 40% of all cyber-attacks target business with fewer than 500 employees.
  • Only 52% of businesses have a cyber security plan, and 40% of businesses do not have a response plan.
  • 74% of small and medium businesses reported attacks from 2009 to 2010 with an average cost of about $190,000 per attack.

The agency also offers a few tips:

  • Use and regularly update antivirus and antispyware software on all computers.
  • Secure your Internet connection by using a firewall, encrypt information, and hide your Wi-Fi network.
  • Establish security practices and policies to protect sensitive information; educate employees and
  • hold them accountable to the Internet security guidelines and procedures.
  • Require that employees use strong passwords and regularly change them.

Has your business been compromised? Homeland Security suggests the following:

  • Inform local law enforcement of the state attorney general as appropriate.
  • Report stolen finances or identities and other cybercrime to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at
  • Report fraud to Federal Trade Commission at
  • Report computer or network vulnerabilities to US-CERT via the hotline: 1-888-282-0870 or

If you’re one of the 48% of businesses that does not have cyber security plan or the 60% that doesn’t have a response plan, you can build one online by clicking here.

Be safe fellow business owners and online shoppers. Especially with the holidays approaching.

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