How to protect your trade business from cyber attacks

In today’s business environment, cyber attacks are a real threat. Whether it be to optimise your trade business’s functionality (iPads on-site, smart phones etc.) or its processes (job management software, cloud accounting etc.), your business needs it to survive.

However, having so much software and information online also puts your business at risk, especially when it comes to cyber attacks.

In early 2017, the notorious WannaCry ransomware attack occurred. This attack stole important business files and held them at ransom. This cost businesses across the globe around $4 billion.

You may read this and be thinking to yourself “things like that would never happen to little old me…” you need to think again.

I was recently speaking to a tradie (and the owner of his own business) who mentioned his emails had been hacked. After he told me a little bit more about what had happened, I realised it wasn’t just a ‘regular’ hacker that sends out spam emails to your contacts, it was a patient (and clever) one.

This hacker, monitored the tradie’s sent emails and waited patiently until he had sent out his statements and invoices to customers. Then, the hacker sent out a follow-up email with the subject line “Changed Payment Details” and the email included new (and not the tradie’s) banks details.

The result? Most customers knew it was a scam, but it only took two (high-value) customers to fall for the trick for it to work. And it sure did. The hacker got away with $200,000 worth of the tradie’s customer payments.

Still think things like that could never happen to you? Didn’t think so.

Safeguard your business from the never-ending threat of cyber attacks using these tips:

Update your computer system

The ‘WannaCry ransomware’ attack exploited old or outdated Microsoft systems such as Windows 7. It found patches in the security of this operating system and used them to gain access to files. Constantly updating your operating systems means you have the newest, and best, operating security measures available.

Install an anti-virus software

Whether you’re operating off a Mac or Windows system, you need some sort of anti-virus software. There are numerous free versions of anti-virus software on the market however, you may want to consider a paid version for their advanced features. Some of these cost as little as $40 a year, and when you compare this with the cost of losing all your important files, we would say it’s worth it.

Utilise two-factor authentication

Two Factor Authentication is an added layer of security you can utilise on many sites and programs (e.g Google, Banking, Facebook, Apple etc.). It requires not only your username and password, but also authentication from something that only the user would have, such as a 4-digit code sent via to the users mobile. Having this in place on sites and software (that allows it) ensures that YOU, and you only, has access to your account.

Put a lock on it

You should always have a password lock on your internet connections. And, to add extra security to this, your staff’s personal devices mustn’t be allowed to connect to your office internet to avoid spreading malicious files and viruses.    

Have Internet policies in place

Ensure you have policies in place that employees must follow when accessing the Internet and emails.

  • Use strong passwords always (capital letter, lowercase letter, number and symbols).
  • If there is an email that looks even slightly suspicious, ask others about it or delete it.
  • Limit the amount of unsecured websites you visit.

    What’s next?

    Join our Kick-Ass Tradies Facebook Group, for access to trade business specific conversations, tips and resources, plus a like-minded community of tradies.
    Book a 15-minute Game Plan Call with Andy, owner of Dr. DRiP plumbing and co-founder of Lifestyle Tradie, to clarify your priorities and get clear action steps.