Startups and Small businesses are the best target for hackers and attackers. If you are a startup or small business owner, read this article carefully because your business can be one of the next targets for hackers and attackers or even worse, you’re already hacked.
Startups, small business and home-based businesses are the best target for the hackers. They have many contacts, lots of information, list of potential online buyers and sometimes private information about others and are ignorant to security issues. They usually do not pay attention to the security issues and as far as their home page has not been de-faced or their site is up, they think:
- It happens to the others, not me, or
- I don’t have anything important so I don’t care, or
- I take a backup and whatever happens, I just upload my backup again, or
- This is a fancy thing for big companies to waste their money
- Some other reasons
These make home based and small businesses the best target for hackers. They are vulnerable, unprotected and have lots of information. So, why do a hacker waste his time to hack websites that is behind a strong firewall?
Why Small Business are the Best Target for Hackers?
- They usually use open source CMS frameworks,
- They use cheap shared hosting,
- They do not spend on the security of their system and just rely on free security plugins which are actually open source too and all their bugs and vulnerabilities can be found by hackers.
- They have lots of clients and leads.
- When they are hacked, they don’t take any legal action and just re-upload their website. so, their codes are still there and they can continue
- They rely only on their own backups
- They don’t hire professional developers and cannot fix the vulnerabilities, so if for any reason their malicious code is removed from the website, by using the same vulnerability, they can re-insert their codes.
Home-based and small businesses usually do not pay a professional programmer to create a website for them. They use free CMSs such as WordPress or Joomla. These CMSs have security bugs themselves. Some of the themes and plugins have security issues as well and they are all open source. So, it is very easy to access to the codes and find the vulnerabilities and use them to hack targeted web site or a series of web sites.
Most of Small business and non-professional developers are not familiar with the standards. For example, in a medical web site must that patients can contact doctors and make direct and private consultancy, must store patients’ information encrypted. Creating such website with an open source platform is a mistake because not only they are open source and their codes and vulnerabilities can be found easily, they store information un-encrypted, while according to HIPAA standard, all private and critical information must be stored encrypted. If you accept credit card information on your web site and store your clients payment details, does your web site comply with Security standards?
Small businesses use direct contact to their clients. So, their website holds lots of information about the people that are interested to buy something or have already paid for something and their credit card information is already there. In any case, stealing such a list is valuable to them. They can sell the list on the black market and/or steal their money.
It is not easy to find people that might be interested to what a small business offers and collect their email addresses, but is easy to lose them. Such kind of information is vital for any small business and losing them can cause them to shut down their business, or change it or start from the beginning.
All these make small businesses the best target for hackers because when they hack them, they have access to a large amount of data and no one knows.
How can you find out that your site has been hacked or not?
Usually people believe that if the home page has been de-faced, the site has been hacked. But this is not true. Hackers work behind the scene. They can hack your website, steal information, insert malware codes to your pages without noticing. All websites are checked every three-four months and if a malware is found, the site is marked. In such case, when you try to visit the site, your browser shows an alert message saying that the site is distributing malware or virus or it an attacker website and it is not safe to open it. Of course, this happens if the hacker tries to distribute malware, but if they want to steal your precious data, no alert will be given. In such case, how can you find out your website has been hacked or not?
Most of the home-based and business owners believe that taking a backup from their site on their computer and scanning it by an anti-virus solves the problem. But they are wrong. Desktop anti-viruses are being created to protect your Windows computer and scan Windows-based scripts and binaries, not a server-side script. So, if your site got hacked, by re-uploading your recent backup you cannot solve the problem. How do you know that your backup is safe and malware free?