Three reasons why you are vulnerable to a cyber attack

You might think cyber security is just an issue for large organisations. After all, who would want to target your business?

If that’s what you’re thinking, you couldn’t be further from the truth. Last year the government urged all businesses to protect themselves against cyber crime after statistics showed that over four in ten had suffered a cyber breach or attack in the previous 12 months.

Many business owners, including those in aesthetics, assume that their small or medium-sized business is not at risk from cyber attacks, but sadly this is simply not the case. A Hiscox study released just three months ago highlighted that, while most attempts fail, small businesses in the UK are the target of an estimated 65,000 attempted cyber hacks every day, with a small business in the UK being successfully hacked every 19 seconds. This costs the average small business £25,700 in basic ‘clear up’ costs every year.

And if you’re still not convinced, according to the National Cyber Security Alliance, one in five businesses have fallen victim to cyber-crime, meaning there is a 20 per cent chance of your business being hacked.

What’s more, with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) now in force, breaching personal data could land you with a fine of up to €10 million, or two per cent of annual global turnover – whichever is higher.

No business, big or small, is exempt from cyber crime.  So, how could your cosmetic business fall victim to one of these attacks, and what could you do to prevent it?

 

1. Your employees

You may feel pretty well-versed when it comes to staying safe from a cyber attack, but what about your staff? All employees have an important role to play in safeguarding a business from a cyber security breach and it is vital to ensure that everyone has the information, knowledge and skills required to support the security of the business’ networks and information systems.

Phishing emails are a constant risk to people and businesses alike. According to a survey by communication technology company Verizon, 90 per cent of all data breaches can be tracedback to phishing attacks.

These types of emails range from the very obvious phishing attempts to the very sophisticated ones. By simply clicking an untrustworthy link or downloading a suspicious file, you have opened yourself to attack. Usernames, passwords, and even credit card details can be stolen.

 

2. Unsecure mobile devices

These days, most people use a personal device at work, especially given the influx of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) schemes in the workplace. Although there are many positive reasons for allowing staff to use personal devices for work, when it comes to security you have less control.

Employees are likely to download apps and connect to external Wi-Fi spots without having the correct security protocols in place. Another risk to consider is whether the devices in question hold personal data related to your business –  what happens if that device is stolen?

 

3. Passwords

We all want a password that is easy to remember, but we don’t want it to be so straightforward that anyone could crack the code. Research by password management application SplashData revealed the 25 most-used passwords in 2018. The most common was ‘123456’, followed by ‘password’, then‘123456789’

Using any password that is this obvious means your online accounts will be at a heightened security risk, as criminals can gain access by trying the most common passwords first.

 

Some devices and applications come with default passwords, which many users never change. This is also dangerous as some malware are programmed to automatically search for systems set with a default username and password.
There are even websites which provide the default username and password combinations for a huge amount of products.

 

Stay safe

A survey carried out by data, research and consulting business Ovum, suggests that more British businesses are protecting themselves against the risk of online attacks. The poll found that only 10 per cent of UK companies now say they are uninsured for cyber-crime.

Many businesses are turning to cyber liability insurance, to keep their business safe. With comprehensive protection, your business could benefit from practical support in the event of a data breach, and compensations for loss of income and more.

If you find yourself at the mercy of a cyber criminal, do you have a safety net in place?

As a cosmetic practitioner, you should not underestimate cyber risk and the interest online criminals might have in your business, or the chaos a cyber incident could cause. Everyone is at risk of becoming a victim of cybercrime and if you are running a business and store personal information about your customers, you should ensure you have the right protection and cyber risk management in place. Hamilton Fraser’s cyber liability insurance will offer protection in the event of any loss, illegal threat or interruption to your business caused by a cyber attack. Call us on 0800 63 43 881 to speak to one of our team.

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