The worst will probably never happen to you. It’s unlikely that someone will hijack your computer and compromise your identity. Even if they do, they probably won’t permanently damage your equipment, your credit or your client base…
But they might.
If victims of malicious web based attacks have anything in common, it’s that they never expected that it would happen to them. Unfortunately, internet based attacks are impersonal, blunt and rampant. You might be a kind individual and an ethical business person, but you have enemies you’ve never met.
There is a need to panic, but panic just enough to take a few hours to protect yourself and your business. Taking just two simple steps TODAY will vastly improve and protect your small business. Doing them right will save you both time and money and situate your enterprise to adapt and grow for many years to come.
Step One: Review and Update your Virus Protection
You should have anti virus software that:
A) Runs scans and updates itself automatically every night and
B) Scans and protects against both malware and viruses.
There are many great, affordable programs that do both, and some really good free ones that do one or the other. Here are some high quality free antivirus and anti malware programs if you don’t know where to start. Usually, if you buy the full program you should get both virus and malware protection. If you are on a budget, get a free anti-virus program such as AVG and combine it with a free anti-malware program such as Anti Malware.
Step Two: Update and Encrypt your Passwords
I know, it’s really convenient to use a single easy-to-remember password for everything. As you probably already know, this means that if one password gets compromised, all your accounts will fall like so many dominoes. Your bank accounts, your identity and your business. It is now EASY and FREE to use good password habits! I’ve been using LastPass and highly recommended this free download. It’s easy to use and remembers your login information for all your sites on all your computers. It’s safe and will save you time, (even if you are never attacked) which will save you money!
Bad habits are very easy to fall into. You might get away with these bad habits forever. Indeed, you might get away with lying to the IRS, stealing from your customers or skimping on insurance – but you probably don’t take those risks. Your computers are important to your business, not just as gateways to the internet, but as repositories of important and private information. Taking a little time to secure them today will pay rewards throughout your career!