In February 2019, Superbalist.co.za issued this warning on their social media channels: Unfortunately a few of our customers have been targeted by a phishing scam. They received fraudulent emails and/or SMSes requesting them to update their credit card details via a link.
Despite numerous campaigns and educational drives warning consumers and employees to be wary of any emails requesting financial information, people continue to be caught by phishing scams.
Cyber attacks and phishing scams are on the rise – and will continue to skyrocket as more and more of the world moves online.
According to Gartner, worldwide spending on information security products and services will reach more than US$$124 billion in 2019, an increase of 8.7% over 2018, which was already a 12.4% increase over 2017.
The reality is that the information security industry will continue to grow in this digitalized world that we live in. Data is the new currency and driver for all businesses. And data is stored and accessed through devices.
12 years ago, a Clark School study in the US was one of the first studies to quantify the near-constant rate of hacker attacks on computers with Internet access. The study found that at the time a computer was hit – on average – every 39 seconds. The computers in the study were attacked 2 244 times a day.
It is estimated that by 2020, more than 24 billion Internet-connected devices will be installed globally — that’s more than four devices for every human on earth.
Now consider that while cyber security has become far more sophisticated over the past decade, so have cyber attacks, and the amount of devices that can access valuable information is just on the rise.
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Phishing attacks, emails and more
91% of all hacking attempts are initiated via email: All it takes is one employee clicking on a malicious link, opening a compromised attachment or sending sensitive information to an imposter, and the business is left exposed to significant cyber risk.
The good news is that there are solutions to this risk – technology and software that can protect you, and internal knowledge and skills that can shift how you do business.
The first step is awareness. A 2017 Gartner survey revealed that the top three drivers for security spending are security risks; business needs; and industry changes, with privacy concerns starting to become a key factor. Gartner believed that privacy concerns would drive at least 10% of market demand for security services through 2019, and this predication has proven sound.
Privacy concerns – both personal and business related – have become paramount, as hackers continue to target data and personal details, even if this is to access a larger network rather than an individual’s personal data alone.
Protecting your SME from cyber threats
Mark Kohler and Randall Luebke, authors of The Business Owners Guide to Financial Freedom, pay particular attention to cyber attacks because they are so prevalent in destroying wealth, for individuals and businesses.
They offer five key ways to increase your security, as well as three key things you – and everyone in your business – needs to stop doing with immediate effect.
- Keep all your software up-to-date.
- Back up everything, all the time; having one copy isn’t enough.
- Become a limited user.
- Use two-factor authentication.
- Use strong, long and hard-to-remember passwords.
The solution to remembering all these passwords is to use a password vault to safely and securely store all your passwords. Many of these vaults automatically enter your passwords when needed so you don’t have to retype them. With the vault, you only need to remember one password — the one that accesses your vault.
You’re probably also doing a few things that could expose your information. Here are three you need to stop doing today.
- Don’t trust anyone. Always think before you act.
- Don’t become complacent about cyber security.
- Don’t solely rely on antivirus programmes to protect you.
For more on how to protect your business download the white paper.
This article was published in partnership with First Distribution.