Being Hacked: How Much of a Threat?

    By Yon Walls | Small Business

    It’s a business reality. Getting hacked by someone seeking to exploit your computer network is real. As reported by Semantec, a hacking security firm, 36 percent of all hacking attacks targeted companies with less than 250 employees this year, up 18 percent since 2011. This suggests that hacking is more prevalent and more is being required to respond to it.

    On the national level, cyber security is a critical issue related to the American way of life. President Obama has warned that “cyber threat is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation.” Recently, the US Pentagon after news that Chinese hackers had gained access to critical information about American weapon systems, defended the strength of the systems.Yet hacking compromises Air-Force, Army and Navy air to air and missile defense.

    Apple, Twitter, Facebook and Microsoft have all been hacked too. When Twitter accounts were recently hacked, small businesses scrambled to apply new rules to getting in and out of their accounts. Protecting a customer base for any company is crucial to securing customer and business trust. Also, keeping abreast what and who hackers are and what they do, is a best business practice.

    Who are hackers? There’re all types. The most commonly known hacker is the “black hat” hacker. This hacker intentionally and maliciously breaks into your computer network to steel or destroy information, unlike the “white hat” hacker that breaks into your businesses network with no intent to harm. Also unlike a virus;” a small program or snippet of code that is loaded onto a computer without the knowledge of the user” that can replicate itself, black hat hacking is an intentional (and often sophisticated) networking crime orchestrated by an individual or group of individuals. Consequently, it’s far more threatening.

    Staying knowledgeable, taking system precautions, and applying best practices, continues to be the best course of action for businesses as new laws and legislation to prosecute hackers are underway. Ubisoft, a leading video game development company, whose computer system was hacked, created a game that actually educates game enthusiasts about hackers through game enactment. The company has offered a unique way for individuals and companies to learn about hacking after seeking out realistic portrayals of how hacking works.

    Richard Henderson, a security researcher for Fortinet, says about the actual threat of being hacked, “companies still fall prey to it, no matter how many times we preach for them to validate their inputs.” Henderson refers to a company’s actual database and password storage encryption.

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