How to keep your online business safe from digital threats

Businesses need to be more aware of online security every year, as the number of potential threats increases and criminals find new ways to defraud organizations.

Cybercrime has grown over the last few decades to become one of the major threats to businesses. US citizens are more worried about having their personal or financial information stolen by hackers than they are about any other type of crime, and it’s not hard to see why. Businesses, therefore, need to be careful about their security to avoid falling victim to cybercrime.

However, this doesn’t have to be extremely complex or technical. While there are absolutely elements of digital security that will need IT professionals to implement, such as firewalls, mostly it is to do with changing your actions. Some of the most common forms of cybercrime don’t involve hacking or computer viruses, but simply exploiting human behavior.

While you should absolutely check with security professionals to make sure you are as protected as possible online, there are several steps you can take to keep your business safe that don’t require any technical knowledge. Here are some of the main steps you should take.

Learn to spot phishing scams

The most common type of cybercrime by far is phishing. This form of attack involves sending a message to a target pretending to be someone the target knows or trusts. This could be their boss, their bank, their phone provider or more. The message will look professional and ask for details that would make sense to ask for, such as pretending to be a bank and asking for your account information. The target may not realize they are giving away sensitive information to a criminal.

The best defense against phishing is awareness. If your employees are in the habit of double checking the addresses of any emails they are sent, they will be more likely to spot fraudulent emails. If they know to double check with colleagues before sending over any sensitive information, they will be more likely to realize they are being phished before it is too late.

Protect your files

It’s always good to have a contingency plan. What happens if an employee gets phished and sends confidential information to a criminal? If that information is secured with a password, it will be much harder for that criminal to use it and will give you the time to realize you’ve been scammed and take action.

Password protecting documents is simple, and the best way to do it is to convert them to PDFs using an online word to PDF converter. Then you can set a password, make sure your employees know it and ensure they do not give it out to anyone, even each other. This will give you that extra layer of security that can make all the difference.

BEC scams

While phishing is more common, business email compromise (BEC) scams are much more expensive for businesses, losing them over $2.7 billion in 2022. These scams involve gaining access to an employee’s email account and using it to commit fraud. This could include:

  • Using a finance employee’s emails to create fake invoices that pay the criminal’s bank account
  • Hacking the CEO’s email account and asking employees to send money or buy gift cards
  • Hacking the email of a vendor your company works with and generating fake bills for you to pay
  • Gaining access to an HR employee’s email and requesting other sensitive data from employees

You can protect against this in a number of ways. The most common is two-factor authentication, where anyone logging into their email address must also provide a code that is texted to them, or some other method of verification. This means criminals can no longer get into an email account with just the password.

Keeping your business safe from cybercrime might seem scary, but a lot of defenses against digital threats are common sense. Learn to spot scams and keep your documents safe, and you will be much better protected than you might think.

Subith Kumar is an online gaming and futuristic tech editor with a decade of experience. He holds a B.A. in Computer Science and is known for his deep insights into virtual reality and AI in gaming. When offline, he's a drone racing enthusiast and a creative photographer.


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