10 Tips to Protect Your Business from Cyber Criminals / Hackers

By Partho, Gaea News Network
Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Several small and medium sized business have been victims of cyber crime at some point. According to the recent researches organised cyber gangs intent on cracking into corporate networks in the same way they might target a bank vault posing greater threat to business networks. The online scammers, hackers and identity thieves attempt to access your computer, personal information, finances and more. It’s absolutely important to minimize your chances of becoming a victim of an internet-based crime. When online security measures are essential to protect your information, your computer and your money. We assembled a list of top 10 tips that protects your business from cyber criminals/hackers.

1. Keep Off Spammers

Spammers love the unprotected computers. They constantly probe and set traps for unprotected computers that can control and use anonymously to send spam, turning them into a robot network such as “botnet” or “zombie army”. The botnets are created by thousands of computers that send emails by the millions. Most of the spams are sent remotely this way. Making it difficult to stop or to determine the originator.

2. Avoid sharing free files with strangers

Millions of computer users share files online. File-sharing can give people access to wealth of information, including music, games and software. You might download a special software that connects your computer to an informal network of other computers running the same software. There are millions of users who could be connected to each other through this software at one time. The software is free and easy to access.

File-sharing has a number of risks. In case you don’t check the proper settings you might be allowed to access not just the files that you intend to share. Other information on hard drive, like your tax returns, email messages, medical records, photos or other personal documents.

3. Know Who You Dealing with

The Internet is filled with mortar and bricks. Online can’t judge an operator’s trustworthiness with gut-affirming look in the eye. It is remarkably simple for online scammers to impersonate a legitimate business. It’s important to know what you are dealing with. In case you are considering to shop anything online .

When you visit an unfamiliar site, call the seller’s phone number. You might reach them when you need them.

Type the site’s name into a search engine. In case you find an unfavourable, review posted check if the phone number is working, take the business a step ahead. Check out one of the merchant ratings sites, such as PriceGrabber.com, Yahoo! Shopping or Shopping.com.

Most recent versions of IE 8.0, Safari 4 and Firefox 3 can alert if the website is a known phishing site or it might be used to deliver spyware. Yahoo! Toolbar with Anti Spyware or Earthlink Toolbar for use with older browsers.

4. Avoid phishing scams

Don’t reply to an email, text or pop-up message that asks for personal or financial information and don’t click on links in the message. In case you wanna go to a bank or business website, type the web address into your web browser.

In case you get a message by text email, text, popup or phone asking you to call a phone number to update your account or give your personal information to access a refund.

you to call a phone number to update your account or provide your personal information to access a refund. In case you wanna go for a business with an organization with which you do business, call the number on your financial statement. When you cannot enjoy the benefits of the internet without sharing some personal information.

5. Keep your security software current

Update the anti-virus and anti-spyware software as well as firewall in your computer all the time. Try to set your software to update automatically.  Avoid the trial version of security software as they come pre-installed on computer that generally works for a short time unless you pay a subscription fee to receive the latest updates.

Some of the full security suite that you can use is McAfee Internet Security 2009 ($44.99), Symantec’s Norton Internet Security 2009 ($59.99), or Trend Micro Internet Security ($49.95).

6. Malware Protection

Typically the malware are hidden in free software applications, such as games, file sharing programs, customized toolbars or screensavers. Just visiting a website or downloading files that might cause a drive-by download, which could turn your computer into a “bot”. In case you receive a pop-up message that appears suspicious when browsing the Internet, don’t click on them, even to close them. It would be safest to just close the browser and avoid the site in the future.

7. Protect your Password

Keep the passwords in secure place and out of plain sight or consider using password management software. Don’t share them on the Internet over email or the phone. Internet Service Provider (ISP). Neither your bank nor any other site should ever ask you for online password.

  • Use password that is at least eight characters and include numbers or symbols.
  • Never use real words to protect against automated dictionary guessing programs.
  • Don’t use the personal information, use the login name, adjacent keys on the keyboard as passwords.
  • Change your passwords once in while
  • Don’t use the same password for each online account you access

8. Have a Back up Plan

In case you follow the tips you might likely be free of interference from hackers, viruses and spammers. None of the systems are completely secure. In case you have important files stored in your system copy them onto a removable disc or an external hard drive and store it in a safe place in case your computer becomes unusable to the virus. There are online backup systems such as My Dropbox, Carbonite or SugarSync where you can upload the files.

9. Turn on Auto-update

Some of the hackers take advantage of web browser such as Firefox or Internet Explorer and operating system software such as Windows or Mac OS that don’t have least security updates. Operating system companies issue security patches for flaws that they find in their systems. It is important to set the operating system and web browser software to download and install security patches automatically.

10. Read the privacy policy

When registering for website read the privacy policy carefully. You need to explain what personal information the website collects. How the information is used and whether you have the right to see what information the website has about you.

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