Cyber Threats Faced By Small Online Businesses and Freelancers

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Small online businesses, self-employed individuals, consultants, and freelancers are becoming more and more vulnerable to cybersecurity threats in this digital age. As cyber threats evolve and freelance businesses rely more on technology, it’s critically important to be proactive about cybersecurity. This article looks at cyber threats faced by small online businesses and what their impact is on these businesses.

Why should you care?

Do you own a small online business, work as a freelancer, or consult as a self-employed individual? Then, you probably keep valuable data like financial information, customer details, and intellectual property on your mobile phone or laptop. Cybercriminals want this data. It’s a hidden treasure for them. This is what they live for. Not kidding.

Freelancers and small online home businesses should care more about data breaches because these can have severe financial and reputational consequences. Attacks on small businesses are on the rise, as hackers realize the potential for smaller attacks on more vulnerable companies. Cybercriminals often target small businesses because of their limited resources and lack of advanced cybersecurity measures. For example, a freelancer such as yourself might have paid for a laptop or a mobile phone out of pocket. You may or may not have adequate cybersecurity protection on these devices. Traditional employees on the other hand, have company issued laptops with corporate grade anti-malware scanners and endpoint protection.

A cyberattack on a small online home business could most likely result in financial losses, damage to reputation, loss of customers, loss of sales, and reduction in profits.

Common Cybersecurity Threats and Attacks

According to Ponemon Institute’s State of Cybersecurity report, small to medium sized businesses around the globe have reported the following in a survey:

  • 66% have experienced a cyberattack in the past 12 months at the time of the report.
  • 72% have experienced at least one cyberattack (from what I understand this is from the inception of the business).
  • 45% said that they have no sufficient understanding of how to protect themselves from cyberattacks.
  • 47% said they experienced attacks due to compromised passwords just in the past year at the time of the report.
A hacker

I also noted from the following most common attacks from that research:

Phishing and social engineering attacks

Web-based attacks

Malware attacks

Credential Theft

Check out this cyber threat map showing live attacks as they happen. Yup. These are happening live… right now.

Why would they attack you? Well, in case you missed what I mentioned earlier… You my friend are a relatively easy target, and you have what they want. You still have access to financial resources. Am I right? You have access to client data. Still hot?

Fear not? Don’t let your entrepreneurial dreams die. Our site has guides and recommendations on how to protect yourself against these attacks. Nobody is one hundred percent hacker proof. A cybersecurity expert can still get hacked. What you need to do is just make yourself a harder target, someone who isn’t THAT easy to target. Hackers have different skill levels. Make yourself hackable by only the really skilled black hat hackers.

The Takeaway

As small online home businesses, self-employed individuals, and freelancers become more prevalent, the need for robust cybersecurity measures becomes increasingly important. By understanding the common threats and specific trends within their professions, individuals and businesses can implement effective cybersecurity practices to protect their assets and maintain the trust of their customers and clients.

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Jay Elloso is a passionate cybersecurity expert. He firmly believes in the importance of protecting vulnerable small online home business owners who are just trying to earn an honest living. He's excited to share his expertise with you.