The advent of the 21st century marked the beginning of the era of the internet and brought forth the term cybersecurity. Almost everything we know is, in one way or another, connected to the world wide web. After the DotCom bubble, in 2005, came the smartphones. With smartphones, came a huge army of web developers, trying to make life easier for us. Fast forward to 2020, smartphones and the internet are now an inalienable part of our global civilization. Almost everything can be easily done at the tip for our fingertips. Everything from alarms to documentation and photography to entertainment comes in one package.
Much like smartphones, we still use PCs and laptops, not devoid of internet connection either. And while the internet brought a revolution for more productivity, the bad side of the world also adopted the new technology for their dubious works. Fraudsters and criminals found a new way to dupe people of their money, status and self-confidence. Let’s take a look at some major cybersecurity mistakes we are prone to make as businessmen and how to avoid them.
- Weak Passwords
Cybersecurity means keeping that information secure, which could be used to harm you. It is akin to keeping the keys of locker safe. Your passwords are the keys to your online lockers. Almost everything including your email, social media, bank accounts etc. are protected by passwords. Companies have guidances issued about how a password should be.
One mistake we all can make is to keep the password easy to guess by others. Birthdays, spouses’ names, children’s names are pretty easy to guess should someone decide to try to hack into your accounts.
How to avoid it?
Keep your password complicated; something not even the closest of your people would be able to guess. Add special characters such as @,#,!,$,&. Even one character makes it difficult to guess. Even if someone were to use a machine, a special character would take a much longer time to crack; this would give you enough time to intercept and react.
- Divulging Your Credentials
Even if someone is dear to you, revealing your login information is dangerous. This doesn’t apply only to your bank accounts and apps. This also applies to all your social media handles and emails as well. Anyone with access could always login and pretend to be you to obtain sensitive information. This information may, in turn, be used for blackmail, extortion, impersonation and other illegal activities.
How to avoid it?
Never give your login information to anyone, no matter how trustworthy. Once you tell your login details to someone, it is as good as public info. If someone else knows your credentials, your sensitive data is at a risk.
- Thinking You’re Safe
No one is safe. Everyone is vulnerable. There are many fraudulent companies that have been involved in the process of duping unsuspecting of their money. These people buy user data from dishonest people and then use it to appear legitimate. They trick people into giving out their sensitive information. Any data you put online on a public platform is at risk and may cause you loss of money, reputation and potentially your customers.
How to avoid it?
Do not put up information such as your phone number linked to your bank account anywhere on the internet. You may put your business number to generate leads and get people to call you.
Always check for the HTTPS:// when browsing payment pages. The S in HTTPS stands for secure. This is at the start of the URL in the browser. If there is no S there, do not put in your credit card/debit card information.
Do not entertain any calls asking for your personal, account information, OTPs, etc. No banks, govt. Authorities and private companies all over the world make such phone calls. Any call you did not request is a potential fraud call.
- ERP Software and IT Team
Your business, more often than not, has certain trade secrets and sensitive information that could impact it adversely if fallen into wrong hands. Account books, registry files, license information, etc. which are stored digitally are very important things critical to running your business smoothly and without incidences. A good ERP software comes up with security updates from time to time. Hackers and cybercriminals are always ready to exploit every weakness they can find.
How to avoid it?
Use trustworthy ERP software and train your employees and staff on how to use it. Your software vendor could also do it for you. Untrained staff members could make critical mistakes to cause you losses. Keep your software updated every time a new patch comes in. If you are a small business owner, keep your apps, especially the ones dealing with money updated.
Businesses and businessmen often deal with huge volumes of transactions. You could have hundreds of transactions going on every single day, irrespective of whether your business is small or large. Even the smallest weakness in your virtual wall of defense could spell doom. Staying smart is the key to stay safe. One could think of all this as the new lock and key system for your shop. Awareness kept thieves away during simpler times. Awareness will keep cyber thieves away during these modern times. Your credentials are your keys, keep them with you at all times.
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