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I just finished a webinar aimed at educating small business owners about the very real cyber crime threat.   It’s a common misconception that small businesses like ours aren’t targets for hackers and identity thieves.  Unfortunately, that’s simply not true.

We hear about the big security breaches, like those at Equifax, Yahoo!, and Home Depot.  But what you don’t hear about are the thousands of small businesses that succumb to some sort of cyber crime each year.  Why?  Mostly because it’s bad publicity.  If a company isn’t required to report a breach, or even if it does, it may choose to keep the incident quiet in order to protect its reputation.

But, cyber criminals do target small businesses because they are low-hanging fruit.  Criminals use automated tools that seek out un-patched computers, unprotected routers and wi-fi access points, so they can be infiltrated.

What’s more, it’s often the employees themselves that release private information to identity thieves.   Of course this is all done unknowingly, which was my point with this webinar.  Despite all the layers of security, including software and hardware, that your IT company can install, people are the weakest link in the security chain.

Employees inadvertently respond to fake emails from UPS, the IRS, or even Microsoft, requesting ‘account verification’ and log ins.  One elaborate, but ubiquitous scam includes a phone call from a supposed Microsoft employee informing  you that they have noticed your computer is infected and are willing to take care of it for you.  All you need to do is give the caller remote access to your computer.  I can’t tell you the number of people I’ve actually talked to that have fallen for this scam, only to give someone full and complete access to everything on their computer.

In an effort to educate small businesses, and their employees, on how to identify and properly react to scams such as these, The Computer Center will be sponsoring a live educational seminar entitled “Essential Cyber Security Training for Your Staff” on March 22nd.   I encourage you to take advantage of the limited free tickets and attend this seminar with one or more of your staff members.   It’s about time that we learned how to fight back against these scum, and started protecting your data, your company, and everything you’ve worked so hard to achieve in your small business.  For more information about the seminar visit www.securityseminar.info