Local IT expert warns small businesses could be target of cyber attacks

Updated: Jun. 3, 2021 at 5:01 PM EDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Microsoft, nine meat processing plants, and the Pentagon are among several of the latest entities that have fallen victim to cyber-attacks.

The big deal is that these businesses actually had their files encrypted and were locked out of their systems.

As it pertains to the meat processing plants, this could result in higher meat prices or difficulty finding meat at your local store.

Meanwhile, experts are warning businesses about taking precautions in order to prevent these attacks. They say that one simple mistake can open up the possibility of a major attack.

“Something that started off very small, someone clicked on the wrong link in an email, they accidentally typed their username and password for a legitimate site into something that was not legitimate, but it looked, you know, to an untrained eye, it looked very legitimate,” said David Mantlo, CEO of ISTT in Bowling Green.

While we’ve heard about these big businesses getting hacked, experts say small businesses can often be targeted.

One CEO of a local computer support company explains how one simple mistake can open up the possibility of a major attack.

“The expectation from the bad guy standpoint is the smaller the business is, the less likely that they will have countermeasures in place that they will have appropriate protections in place, they probably will be able to fish somebody, they probably will be able to find a way to be able to hack in,” said Mantlo.

Mantlo encourages businesses to get aligned with a trusted advisor in the cybersecurity space to start taking steps to secure workstations and servers. Additionally, they should start adopting a zero-trust approach to what’s operating on their machines.

“They need to be investing in their human capital. No business is of any value at all without the people who are working in it. And so a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. So it is a wise move for any business owner to invest in that human capital, make sure they understand what sites that they should be visiting indicators that they should stop and ask somebody else.”

The following precautions are encouraged to take from an IT standpoint: proper training, unique and different passwords, employing IPS, IDS at the firewall level, antivirus scanning, prevent things from coming onto your network before they can actually start creating problems.

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