Guest Post: Hackers Targeting Small Business During Covid

Canada is one of the world’s most targeted countries for cyber-attacks which have already wreaked havoc on universities, city transit systems such as in Montreal and Toronto, and most recently the provincial healthcare system of Newfoundland and Labrador. But according to Julian Fernandez of Motto, a web agency that specializes in developing custom sites, small business is the most vulnerable.

“These attackers target smaller businesses and individuals who are less likely to practice secure online habits,” Fernandez says. “And the pandemic is the perfect storm. Everyone had to become adept at using their computers and the Internet at home. Unfortunately, not everyone is a cyber-security expert and the attackers have jumped on this opportunity.”

Fernandez says a typical ransomware payout is demanded in cryptocurrency, with the average amount $980 US.

According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, which collects information on fraud and identity theft, more than 62,000 incidents of fraud have been reported this year involving more than 43,000 victims. The total amount reported lost so far this year is over $200 million, which is about twice as much in all of 2020.

“People and businesses should educate themselves on what to do,” Fernandez says. “Invest in security. Have firm policies so your staff is on board. And report any scams and cyberattacks to the governing bodies for your industry. A lot of fraud isn’t reported so the total damage is even higher.”

Fernandez offered five basic tips on how to protect against cyber and ransomware attacks:

  1. Avoid visiting websites that don’t appear credible, and if you do learn how to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network). 
  2. Use a password manager. 
  3. Never release important and sensitive information over the phone or through email. 
  4. Never open emails or attachments from strangers. 
  5. Protect and secure all your devices, including access points to your data.

About Motto
Motto started over 20 years ago as a creative web agency building custom websites and web apps. In the past five years it has adapted WordPress software to become an expert in producing custom WordPress sites for clients that range from small and mid-size businesses (over $5 million) to large organizations. Motto also has an agency agreement with KINSTA, a web-hosting company with more than 20,000 customers.

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