You’re about to be hacked! Sorry to break it to you that way. But there are so many hackers working to steal the identities of regular folks. In fact, you may have already been hacked. If you bought a Lenovo computer as recently as Spring 2015, it may have been shipped with adware, malware, root kits, viruses, and other nasty bits already installed. These days, many Windows PC computers get hacked.
Three things you may not get back if you are hacked
While you can’t stop people from trying to hack you, you can protect yourself and limit your losses. But before you can limit your losses, you have to know what is at stake. Despite being aware of the threat, people tend not to change any behaviors until they are hacked, and discover, firsthand, what they have to lose.
Don’t wait for that to happen. If you haven’t yet taken precautions, here are three things you stand to lose:
1. All Your Money
If your money is safe and secure in a reputable, financial institution, you are the only one capable of getting to it. Your identity is both the lock and the key. The one who controls your identity, controls your fortune. The bad news is that you may find that you are not the one controlling your identity. One of the goals of hackers is to steal your identity. Once they do that, for all intents and purposes, they become you. To put it in a paraphrase of 1991 video game parlance, all your money are belong to them. USAToday said the same thing, but in the following words:
But when a stolen identity is used to apply for additional lines of credit, the victim can spend years trying to resolve bad debt run up by thieves in their names. Some struggle to borrow money because of the damage to their credit scores. Others have been forced to file bankruptcy and lose their homes.
2. Your Content
If you have a small business, your losses can be even greater. You are not just gambling your own fortunes, but the fortunes of everyone who does business with you. The content that passes through your website could range from trade secrets to customer credit card data. Your virus protection has to be up to the job of securing your professional content, as that makes a juicier target for hackers than individual computers owned by consumers.
Check your virus software carefully to make sure it can handle your needs, such as if you:
- Need to block spam or prevent the loss of data sent out via email
- Don’t have a server or prefer a server maintenance-free solution
- Want to manage security / push policy to remote employees / branch offices
- Want to have simple mobile device management for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync users
What you have to remember is that your business security needs are different from your personal security needs. You have more to protect and you need a business-class software package for protection. At that level, the price of being hacked is much higher.
Can you guess what Target, Sony, and Home Depot have in common? They have all been recently hacked. Worse, they have all suffered near irreparable damage to their reputations. When it comes to securing sensitive customer and employee information, they will never be taken seriously again.
And they are not alone. The list of recently hacked companies is as long as their security measures were short. The other thing they have in common is that they are all big enough to survive their security problems. Chances are, your small business is not. Once you lose reputation, you have lost everything that matters.
Getting hacked is a serious affair. Besides money, you have sensitive content and reputation to lose. The time to take this threat seriously is now, before you become the next victim.
What you can do
- Invest in top quality virus software
- Start a credit freeze so no one can open an account in your name until you lift the freeze
- Keep passwords and log in info in a space place, like the password apps, 1Password or LastPass
- Never open emails from people you don’t know, especially if they contain attachments
What else would you add to this list?