Hackers consider small businesses ripe targets for their brand of thievery. It comes down to the simple fact that small businesses don’t have the resources, or don’t think they do, to defend themselves against hacking. In turn, businesses don’t bother to take advantage of what’s available to them at little to no cost to keep hackers from getting their hands on ill-gotten gains. Profits suffer as a result, and businesses are at risk of going under if they don’t take precautions to stop hackers.
Image via Flickr by Don Hankins
A small business owner might feel that what they sell isn’t profitable or interesting enough to attract thieves. All of that effort to get access to credit card information or make fraudulent purchases seems wasted on a small business. A hacker is of the mindset that they’ll take what they can get, no matter how small the reward in order to validate whatever method they developed to break into a business.
Hackers develop techniques that they can reuse with each business they decide to hit. If their method of theft works at one business, chances are good it’ll work at others. They keep testing the waters with each business they come across until they hit paydirt. A solitary small business isn’t worthwhile to a hacker, but if the hacker finds a way to hack multiple small businesses at once, it’s very much worth the time to make the attempt.
Absolutely. A small business, even if it’s using a high-risk merchant account, has tools at its disposal to stop hackers in their tracks. In fact, the switch to EMV credit cards makes enacting self-defense methods against hacking more important than ever. Experts are forecasting a major spike in online fraud for credit card use. It stands to reason that small businesses are also going to find themselves under attack as thieves look for new avenues to ply their trade.
A small business can use the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard as a place to start for securing their credit card processing methods. All businesses that accept credit cards must follow the PCI DSS protocols in order to maintain a high-risk merchant account for people with bad credit. However, it lays out a framework for a small business to implement, especially if it just opened its doors to paying customers.
Tokenization and 3-D secure are two other methods that make it impossible for thieves to use stolen credit card numbers. Both are done at the card processing level, which means getting the protocols from the merchant account provider. Both are painless for the customer to use while securing their information to a point that’s almost impossible to hack.
It takes very little time to implement tools that secure data against a breach by a hacker. They work actively once in place and prevent a majority of fraud from getting through. While it’s wise to stay flexible and be ready to use new techniques when available, it’s also wise to start protecting the business and customers sooner than later.