Data breaches and the fallout that can result from them may be especially damaging for small businesses in particular, and for this reason it may be wise for owners and employees alike to become more aware of a new and very specific type of threat they face. At the same time, entrepreneurs may also want to do more to guard their companies from these threats by adding tech insurance protection.
A new kind of scam that has begun to pop up across the country involves criminals posing as IT professionals, according to a report from the FICO Banking Analytics Blog. These typically involve phone calls in which the person on the other end asks whether a person is a primary PC user, and then claims that their company (usually something along the lines of “PC Support”) has been monitoring error messages logged by a target’s computer, or that their data shows a person’s computer is running more slowly than it should.
It is at this point that the crooks on the line ask if their intended victims will allow them to “fix” the problem, the report said. Of course, there is no problem to fix, and those who give access – typically by visiting a website and either downloading a program or entering “codes” that will give the person on the other end remote access to the computer in question – will typically be attacked with a malware program that is designed to steal sensitive information from victims’ systems.
Of course, there’s a relatively simple way to make sure this kind of scam does not affect a consumer or company’s computer systems: asking to verify the “PC Support” firm’s information, the report said. When the people making these calls are pressed for details about their businesses, such as main phone numbers, websites, full name, where it is based, and the like, they tend to simply hang up on the call. This is a pretty sure sign that the claims they were making were indeed bogus.
It’s important for small business owners and employees alike to be aware of these threats, but also to know that overall, legitimate companies will never contact anyone with unsolicited offers like these, the report said. In many cases, these criminals may be extremely persistent and even convincing, but being aware of the kinds of tricks they tend to play to gain access to sensitive data is the first step in avoiding falling victim to them.
What to do instead
Small business owners may want to put specific policies into place for dealing with these issues, so that their employees know how to handle situations such as these when they occasionally arise. Similar problems may crop up via email phishing, and workers who know the threats these efforts pose, and how to deal with them in a way that does not expose a PC or entire system, will likely be a small company’s best weapon to prevent hacking and data breaches in general.
Small businesses tend to suffer these incidents with far greater frequency than do their larger counterparts, largely due to the fact that big companies have the resources to bring on IT professionals who can better build defenses against hacking and other such issues that may arise. For this reason, independent owners may want to invest in small business insurance policies that will help to better protect them when these incidents occur. The cost for covering a data breach incident can stretch into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, or sometimes even more, and that may be difficult for many companies to bear without help.