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on Tuesday, 11 September 2012
in Web Design

Small Businesses Most Vulnerable to Hackers

internet hacker

E-commerce is growing and growing rapidly. The Financial Times recently reported that the UK is the world leader in ecommerce, predicting that the sector will contribute £225 billion to GDP by the year 2016. Further to this, small businesses that embraced the internet for sales and marketing were seen to grow by 12% per year.  

Across the EU as a whole, the European Commission states that "the development of electronic commerce and online services offers enormous potential for beneficial economic, social and societal change. The Internet economy creates 2.6 jobs for every 'off-line' job lost, and offers a better choice to consumers, including those in rural and isolated areas. The gains brought by lower online prices and a wider choice of available products and services are estimated at EUR 11.7 billion, equivalent to 0.12 % of European GDP. If 15 % of retail sales were e-commerce and the obstacles to the internal market were removed, the gains for consumers might be as much as EUR 204 billion, or 1.7 % of European GDP."

No wonder then, that this is seen as a juicy target for hackers. 

In fact a recent survey conducted by Ponemon Research revealed that 90% of businesses said they have been hacked.  This might explain why over 50% of consumers surveyed by World Pay said they had concerns over the security of their data and payment information when using ecommerce.

Common methods of infiltrating sites include SQL injections which can result in confidential information being stolen for fraudulent activities, and cross site scripting which can result in visitor redirects, stolen account details and the spread of viruses.

Anti-virus software and firewalls were the most popular security measures amongst small businesses in the survey, methods which alone are not considered effective enough to protect against hackers.

How to Prevent Hacker Attacks

Hackers are opportunist thieves, don't become their next target. There are several things you can do to protect your site from attack.  The first one might seem strange, but you should consider changing your content management system. 

One of the main reasons that we at Berlin Web Studio use Joomla! to build our websites is the fact that as open source software, Joomla! sites are secure.  Any potential security flaw is quickly picked up and patched, making Joomla! based sites a safe option for small businesses – plus they look good too.

And whilst web hosting providers take steps to prevent malicious attempts to hack sites through measures such as deep packet inspection which monitors the traffic on a network to detect suspicious activity, the onus is always on small businesses and all website owners to be personally vigilant to prevent attacks. 

Steps such as installing regular software updates, employing strong and secure passwords, email previewing windows, regular website backups and effective anti-hacker software are all proven methods of defending a website against hack attacks.

This can be time consuming, however, if you are trying to run your business, which is why Berlin Web Studio offer contract service maintenance plans.  You can concentrate on your business, safe in the knowledge that our experts are keeping your site safe from hackers and viruses.  If you're one of the 90% that have already suffered a hacker attack, we can help you recover.  Our programmers can go through and cleanse your site, making it secure again.  Then we can use our reputation management skills to rebuild your site's credibility.  

There is no reason to let the hackers ruin your business.  Let us help you keep them at bay.  

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