By Rick Boyles, President, Computer Networks, Inc. why_hacking_is_a_great_da_75182_142416

There’s an old joke about two men hiking in the woods when they come across a big, grumpy black bear.  Scared silly, one of the guys starts to run but notices his buddy stopped, bent-over, changing his shoes. He shouts to him, “Dude! What are you doing?!?! Why aren’t you running?” to which his friend replies, “I’m changing my shoes because I don’t need to outrun the bear – I only need to outrun YOU.”

This is a perfect analogy for what’s going on in small businesses in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and around the world: the “slow,” easy targets are getting nailed by fast-growing cybercrime rings that are getting more sophisticated and aggressive in attacking small businesses.  Last year, the average cyber-attack cost a small business $20,752, a substantial increase from 2013, when the average was $8,699. That’s because most small businesses don’t use IT support companies to put the security protocols in place.  Many of them may get a Security Risk Assessment done, but they end up not following through.

IT support companies are critical to helping small businesses protect itself from hackers, but if you choose to go it alone there are several things you can do to avoid being easy pickings.

Here’s how:

  1. Lock your wireless network. While WIRED networks make you invisible to WiFi snoops because in order to connect you have to plug in a cable, you can create a hidden or cloaked network on a wireless network. Simply disable the service set identifier (SSID) broadcasting function on the wireless router, and only users with the exact network name will have access.
  2. Encrypt your data. Purchasing a full-disk (hard drive) encryption software and enabling it keeps your info secure in the event of loss of the device.
  3. Install firewall and anti-malware applications on all of your equipment, including mobile devices.
  4. Disable features that automatically connect your mobile devices to any available network.
  5. Disable printer and file-sharing options on mobile devices before connecting to a hotspot.
  6. Check before connecting to hotspots in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and throughout Hampton Roads. If there is an unusual variation in the logo or name on the login page, beware…this could mean it’s a fake hotspot designed to steal your data.

Can you guarantee that a hacker or group of hackers isn’t looking at your data? Not really, especially if you’ve never had a Security Risk Assessment, but the chances of them being able to do that are greatly reduced if you take precautions to protect your business.

About our IT Support Company in Virginia Beach
Our IT support company was founded in 2004 by Rick Boyles. Our typical customer has 10 to 150 workstations, is a small business or medical practice, and relies heavily on e-mail, the Internet, and their computer network for running their business or medical office.  Clients hire us to provide computer network security, Security Risk Assessment, managed IT services, HIPAA Risk Analysis,,and more. They do not want to incur the overhead and cost of a full-time IT staff, and they do not want to risk their IT to a self-taught employee who knows “a few things” about computers.  We serve Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and Hampton Roads, Virginia.