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In 2016, small businesses were virtually targeted, be it through ransomware, hack attacks or denial of service attacks, and it is becoming an increasingly worrying trend.

You would think that cyber criminals would go for bigger, more established companies, but that isn’t the case anymore. Smaller businesses are being targeted as they are said to have lower defences than larger organisations, which would make sense as smaller companies have fewer human and financial resources. Cyber criminals thrive off of small businesses for these reasons, as well as having a better chance at accessing their victims’ customer data and intellectual property as opposed to a larger company.

Hacking claims reached international news level in the beginning of this year, in the form of Russia allegedly meddling with the US presidential election. The director of National Intelligence General James Clapper said Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the Democratic Party in America to be hacked, with the motive said to be revealed ‘soon’.

Criminals are constantly discovering new ways to exploit the Internet to generate illegal income, and it’s something that will continue to rise unless IT security becomes more robust.

For small and medium sized businesses, the solution is to hire professional IT support in Essex – companies such as Networking 2000 can offer a fast, reactive team of highly experienced IT engineers to help with a range of IT and communication services. Don’t be the next victim on ransomware or hacking, upgrade your security today.

Essential Tips To Prevent Hacking

The most common cause of a computer or network being compromised is when a virus or hack is installed on a computer via an email attachment or link. Phishing emails are sent that mimic trusted suppliers, banks and popular websites, which encourage an individual to download a file. For instance, the file may be said to contain personal information that requires verification – when this is opened, it installs hacker’s software onto a computer that allows the hacker to then take control.

Another more recent tactic we have seen is that hackers send an email that pretends to be from a local council, issuing a speeding ticket or fine for illegal parking. Recipients are invited to “verify” their vehicle, which involves again downloading a file that if opened, will install a virus that gives the hacker control of the computer.

Sometimes the hackers are far more direct and telephone their victims, claiming to be calling from a Microsoft support team. They aim to convince their victims that their computer is in danger of becoming disabled due to a system errors, and request access to the computer. Once they gain access, usually via a service such as LogMeIn, they install the virus while pretending to help the victim.

It is often weeks after the security breach that the hackers make their move, so it is not always clear to IT support how or when the breach initially occurred.

There are many methods used by cyber criminals to steal private information that can then be used to attack a business. Ensure all staff are educated about computer security and are informed to never download or open an email attachment from an unknown source.