Nerds To Go Helps You Protect Your Small Business from Cyberattacks

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MINT HILL, NC – Did you know that the first 6 months of 2021 saw an 85% increase in cyberattacks compared to 2020?

When COVID-19 hit in March of 2020, a huge influx of people began working from home virtually overnight.  Whether by choice or necessity, many of those people are still working from home nearly two years later.  But if you’re working from home, remember: so are cybercriminals, and it’s unlikely that your home office has the same cybersecurity measures as your place of business.

At the Mint Hill Chamber of Commerce October Member Luncheon, Guest Speaker Paul Blanchette from Nerds to Go spoke about cybersecurity and the importance of protecting your small business from attacks.

Many small businesses make the mistake of thinking they’re “off the radar” when it comes to cybercriminals, but the statistics tell a different story.  In May of 2021, Cyber Security Magazine reported that 43% of all data breaches involve small and medium-sized businesses, and 61% of all small to medium-sized businesses reported at least one cyberattack during the previous year.  According to Blanchette, 25% of small businesses that face cyberattacks are forced to stop business to resolve them, and 60% of those close their doors for good.

In fact, small businesses make an attractive target for cybercriminals because they assume they’re not worth targeting.  Not only do small businesses possess information cybercriminals want; they also typically lack the security infrastructure of larger businesses and aren’t adequately prepared to detect or respond to cyberattacks.

To help Mint Hill’s small business owners protect themselves and their livelihoods from cybercriminals, Blanchette discussed common scams circulating the internet today and offered practical tips for avoiding them.

Most phone scams, for example, follow a common script.  First, you receive an unsolicited call about a problem.  Next, the caller threatens you with consequences if the problem isn’t resolved.  Lastly, there’s a “call to action.”  The caller can help you straighten it out, but they need something from you to make it happen, often cash, gift cards or your social security number.

One common scam people can fall prey to is the supposed call from the Social Security Administration
One common scam people can fall prey to is the supposed call from the Social Security Administration

Scam callers like this attempt to frighten and confuse you.  The main thing to do when you receive a call like this, says Blanchette, is stop and think.  Consider, for example, the classic “call from the Social Security Administration:” the FBI is looking for you.  A rental car you were associated with was involved in a drug deal.  It’s meant to sound frightening and urgent, but stop and think: the FBI doesn’t call to tell you they’re looking for you.  And why would the Social Security Administration call you about it anyway?  When you stop and think, the details don’t add up.

Common sense goes a long way toward avoiding falling prey to cyberattacks.  Apple, Google and Microsoft are unlikely to call you personally if “there’s a problem with your computer” – just think about the hoops you had to jump through last time there really was a problem to get it fixed!  If you’re not expecting a package, it’s unlikely that UPS will email or text you about one.  

It’s also important to be a critical consumer of the media you receive.  An email may look like it’s from a well-known company, but upon closer inspection, it may be a trick.  Bad grammar and spelling can be a tip off that an email isn’t really from the company that claims to be sending it.  Make sure the sender’s email address is consistent with the company it’s supposedly coming from, and be on the lookout for minute differences.

One simple thing everyone can do to protect themselves against cyberattacks is change their passwords regularly!  According to Blanchette, 45% of people haven’t changed their passwords in the past year, and that includes people who have already been hacked!  Everyone should also make sure to utilize antivirus software and cloud backup software – there are versions available for as low as $65 and $85 annually.

Above all, small businesses need to have plans in place to repel, detect and recover from cyberattacks.  Blanchette recommends biannual security assessments – especially if you’re working from home.  And most importantly, ACT on those assessments!

For more information about Nerds to Go’s cybersecurity services or to schedule a small business cybersecurity audit, contact Nerds to Go at (704) 761-7154.

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Mary Beth Foster
Mary Beth Foster works part time as an essay specialist at Charlotte Latin School and full time as a mom to her five-year-old daughter Hannah and her two-year-old son Henry. Prior to having children, she worked as a high school English teacher for nine years. Most recently, she chaired the English department at Queen's Grant High School. She and her husband have lived in Mint Hill with their children and their cats since 2011. Email: