Selling stolen IDs and other personal data is a lucrative trade for hackers. They are always looking for sources where vital information is stored. As a small-to-midsize business, you store your client’s personal information, collected from different sources, on your computers and servers. Your Point-of-sale (PoS) terminal and some website transactions can be completed by use of electronic banking, credit cards, or debit cards only. Your customers have to key-in their pins or passwords to make payments. That information has to be saved. Also, depending on the kind of services or products you provide, you may be collecting Social Security numbers, addresses, driver’s license numbers, and birthdates of your clients. Personal information is a gold mine for a hacker. All this means only one thing for you: A data security nightmare.
Here are the channels hackers can use to break into your IT infrastructure
- Your website: Hackers have become very sophisticated in cyber attacks on websites. They can access specific information by targeting websites that have the information they are looking for. For example, if they want only financial information about their victims, they can use tools that will fish for the websites that carry that kind of information. Implementation of web-based applications has made it easier for cyber criminals to connect to your website database. They are able to find the loopholes and hack into systems. Your computers and servers: Your computers and servers are treasure-troves of information. By sending malware into your systems they can steal your admin passwords, and then login to your servers and other network devices. These hardware devices are the ultimate prize for cyber thieves because these devices not only hold important information about your clients, they also have all the information about your business and possibly about your vendors and associates.There is nothing about your business that these hackers don’t know. Imagine how devastating this attack can be.
- Mobile devices used by your employees: If you allow your employees to use their mobile devices to conduct business, you have another security issue to worry about. You don’t know how secure their mobile phones, iPads, laptops, or tablets are against a security breach. You don’t know how hard or easy their passwords are to crack. Breach of security into those devices will lead hackers right into your networks where they can steal critical business data.
- Unsecure Wi-Fi network: Most businesses keep their Wi-Fi networks well protected, but unsecured Wi-Fi is an open invitation to cyber criminals. If your Wi-Fi network is not secure, hackers are one step closer to breaking into your systems.
- Your PoS systems: PoS systems are the prime targets for hackers who want to commit financial fraud. Cyber thieves know that PoS systems that come with preloaded software can be hacked using an unsecured, Wi-Fi network. This fraud has a direct impact on an individual’s finances because a hacker can make unauthorized credit card charges quickly and move on before anyone realizes what happened. Ruined credit can take years to mend.
- Your email: Email is another venue that hackers use to infect computers with malicious software.They send viruses that replicate themselves in the host computers, performing various tasks such as denial of service to the users of your systems, spamming your contacts, and accessing data without authorization.
To handle all of these possible gateways, you need a comprehensive approach to data security. I can’t be done piecemeal. Plus the potential damage to your business and brand if you don’t address every possibility cannot be overstated. The best solution is to solicit the help of a managed service provider, who can design a complete security blueprint to address all of these areas.
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