By Bob Milliken
If your business hasn’t been the target of malicious intruders or cyber criminals, consider yourself lucky. Hackers are a relentless bunch and they want your gold: information and access they can use to exploit loopholes in your business’s Internet security. The last few years have been hard on companies all across the globe, and for sure these cyber breaches aren’t going to stop simply because the “damage has been done”. In the US and Canada, reported incidents have affected over 215 million consumers and over 7 million small businesses; and that’s only counting the attacks that authorities have uncovered. Security industry analysts predict that the trend of increasing frequency and sophistication won’t change much in 2015.
For cyber criminals, there is no end game. All too often, small business owners assume they are outside the firing line and hackers aren’t interested in them. While the media focuses on the big cyber attacks, there are countless other stories playing out at small businesses everywhere. Cyber criminals are constantly in search of loopholes and weak security. In my experience, unfortunately, small businesses often have the weakest IT security.
In the old days, the cyber crime business was pretty simple. You bought a gun or a knife, hid out in a dark alley and when someone would walk by, you’d jump out and say, “stick ‘em up” and take their money. Startup costs and overhead were low and if you didn’t get caught, you’d be okay. But of course, just like any business owner, criminals started thinking, “How can I grow my business?” Of course, technology answered that question. Trains came along, and instead of robbing one person at a time, you could rob 200-300 people at a time. And robbing trains was a far more lucrative “catch” than robbing individuals because these trains were crossing remote areas where there weren’t organized police forces. Second, individuals who were wealthy enough to afford a train ticket were worth robbing, and they were rounded up and sitting in a single convenient location.
Today, thanks to advancements in technology, and an ever increasing trend of storing valuable financial and personal information on 3rd party cloud platforms, the new “train” robberies are cyber crime related. Think about it: If a criminal wanted to rob 100,000 people at once, they couldn’t do it the “old fashioned” way. Today, all that is needed is a hack into a single, large unsecure “platform”, use advanced technology, and instantly rob millions.
Bob Milliken is the president of Cascadia Systems Group.
Connect with Bob at TheITguy@CascadiaSystemsGroup.com, or give us a call – 604.270.1730.
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