Cyber attacks are on the rise with the recent hack of daily deals website LivingSocial. The LivingSocial breach follows Facebook, Zappos, Evernote, and Twitter in the ongoing trend of cyber attacks on high-profilewebsites.
Upon logging in on Friday, LivingSocial users were required to change their passwords due to a cyber attack. A LivingSocial spokesman claims the hackers may have accessed names, email addresses, encrypted passwords, and birth dates of over 50 million customers. Although the company affirms that no credit card information was affected or accessed, personal customer data was accessed which could potentially be compromising in the wrong hands. A law enforcement investigation is currently underway.
So what does this all mean.
Well, for starters, small businesses are going to need to make the leap into the cloud and accept the fact that they (both businesses and customers) are at risk each and every day. They are no longer able to ignore the risks inherent in keeping sensitive data in a tower on their hard drive under their desk. Lawyers and medical professionals cannot ignore the risks of keeping their client’s health and financial data sitting in an office closet on a server or with unbounded local IT provider. For the following reasons businesses must embrace the cloud:
- It is more cost effective than their current IT configuration.
- It is more secure. Not perfect, but generally more secure than their current IT configuration.
- It is more efficient regarding access to data 24/7 off of a tablet or smartphone and remotely.
While LivingSocial maintains credit card and financial information is safe, this incident should keep all Internet users on high alert, as this is the serious reality of today’s digital world. Never throw caution to the wind when it comes to protecting your data and identity. Some rules to ‘surf’ by:
1) Watch your accounts closely and be on the lookout for suspicious activity especially after a public data breach you may be connected to.
2) Delete any account that you no longer use, whether it’s social media or ecommerce sites.
3) Ensure you don’t use the same password for multiple accounts – and change them often!
4) Limit the amount of personal information on social media pages, such as Facebook. These days, virtually everyone is “Googleable,” and the amount of personal info that pops up on a Google search is shocking. Hackers can easily access this info and use it for malice.
Protect yourself. How can Newtek help you?
In a nutshell, small businesses need to embrace the cloud in 2013 and should speak directly with an expert at The Small Business Authority to learn how to enhance their business in this fashion.