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There are over 5.7 million businesses in the UK, according to a survey by Merchant Savvy. 96% are micro businesses, with 0 - 9 employees. The Covid situation has amplified unique challenges and risks faced by micro business owners. A government publication defines cyber security as the activities carried out to protect your computer-based equipment and information from unintended or unauthorised access, change, theft or destruction and it is forever a challenge. Good cyber security can enhance the reputation of your business and open up new commercial opportunities. Even when working from home one faces cyber security issues as staff use company laptops and phones or even use their own. In the case of the one-man-band the business owner’s use of systems, devices and data unfortunately opens doors to serious cyber threats if some rules and habits are not followed.
Types Of Cyber Threats
Cyber crime is a world of its own and is rapidly thriving: there are many ways the cyber criminal can gain authorised access to systems, networks, devices etc. Those operations are ingenious and ruthless and as a business owner, it pays to know about the most common cyber threats.
Criminals can access computers or systems without users’ knowledge. They can harvest customers’ card details, disrupt normal traffic to a website or redirect surfers to malicious websites. Malware (a term describing any file or program that is intended to harm or disrupt a computer) is common and is usually propagated through “phishing attacks” i.e. emails and messages used to trick people into divulging sensitive or confidential information. Phishing attacks exploiting the coronavirus outbreak have indeed seen a huge increase since January 2020. Some examples of malware are: botnets, ransomware, trojans, spyware, viruses and worms. In a ransomware attack, the cyber criminal inserts malware that encrypts victims’ information and demands payment in return for the decryption key. Botnet software is designed to infect large numbers of Internet-connected devices. Servers can be attacked too, to provide access to or to modify data. The list goes on.
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