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Smart Attackers Target Vulnerable Businesses

What happens when business as usual is interrupted by the unexpected?

It could have happened to anyone.

And it was almost the end of Rebecca’s business, career, life as she knew it.

Rebecca owns a law firm and has always considered herself a cautious and conscientious person. Good grades in high school, worked her way through college and then law school, and built her law career the right way, with hard work, dedication, and humility. After 15 years of practicing for other firms, she was ready to start her own, and she did it like she did everything else in her life: carefully. Her firm was solid and her employees were happy, even through the sometimes-rocky transition to remote work. Rebecca is a perfect example of hard work paying off.

And with one tap of a keyboard, she almost lost it all.

a woman in glasses looking at a computer screen
a man sitting in front of a laptop computer

One of Rebecca’s paralegals, Ben, was also a diligent and determined worker. When the company moved to remote work, he took the protocols seriously, and tried to help his family stay safe online, also. Being careful was pretty much second nature after a while, to the point where he didn’t think about it too much. He had followed the protocols a thousand times and nothing had happened—but it’s the moment he let his guard down, for one second, in one frantic moment, that a tiny snowflake of a mistake threatened the law firm with an avalanche of disastrous consequences.

The moment when normal people make tiny, normal mistakes is the moment that criminals jump in to attack and take advantage. The vast majority of crimes are those of opportunity—an unlocked back door, a laptop poking out from under a car seat, an unattended purse in a restaurant. And with our increasing reliance on cloud technology, cybercriminals form the dark web are now doing what brick-and-mortar breaking-and-entering criminals have always done: checking locks, looking for weaknesses, planting innocuous-seeming tools for later attacks.

And Ben, despite his best efforts, let himself slip, just this once.

It had been a long day and a hard week. His wife was out of town, so he was dealing with his teenagers by herself, on top of his workload. It was Friday evening and he had vowed to have one nice, home-cooked meal, after a week of frozen pizza and takeout.

He had set his laptop nearby to keep an eye out for last-minute emails as he started washing his vegetables and setting water to boil.

Then, catastrophe struck.

He saw an email come in from a particularly demanding client, and decided to deal with it right away, rather than letting it hang over his head all weekend. As he pulled the laptop across the counter, he knocked over his water, soaking his keyboard.

He held the laptop up, desperate to save it, but it was no use. His screen froze and then slowly faded to black, just like his career if he didn’t get back to the client.

Luckily, we live in a day and age when all teenagers have multiple devices, so he borrowed his son’s laptop (after he closed out some pretty suspicious browsing activity), opened his email, and replied to the client. When he closed the laptop, he felt good. It was Friday night, he was cooking, and he had the whole weekend ahead of him. It was time to relax.

But for someone else across the world, the work was just beginning.

a young man wearing headphones looking at a laptop
a man sitting in front of a laptop computer

While his son never went on the dark web itself, he went onto some websites that only teenage boys would be interested in—not exactly the Wall Street Journal. And on those websites, cybercriminals plant nodes to track the activity of the users, like cookies on websites that we all know and use. Then, they keep an eye on the nodes and the computers that have them implanted, ready to strike if they see a chance to attack the system and extract valuable data.

When Ben opened his work email on a computer in which one of these nodes had been expertly hidden, the cybercriminal who planted it knew he had hit the jackpot. 

Any small business data can be a goldmine for criminals—they hold the data hostage for blackmail, send phishing emails to client lists, plant malware and spyware, commit fraud, and hack into bank accounts. And when a law firm’s data is extracted, the nefarious uses to which the cybercriminals put it can mean malpractice, lawsuits, and being stripped of licenses.

All because of one little mistake.

Did you know: 62% of SMBs reported experiencing a data breach in the past 12 months.

Cybersecurity & Protocol Research

Don't become another statistic

All smart business owners know that cybersecurity is a must. Going virtual makes business easier in so many ways—it provides ease of organization and workflow, helps us keep track of projects and employees, and gives our customers an easy way to interface with our products and services.

The downside of our increased ease and connectivity is the increased ease of access that cybercriminals and bad actors take advantage of, every single day.

That’s why WheelHouse IT provides comprehensive cybersecurity with multiple layers of advanced software, smart policies, and responsive and diligent technical experts. Our custom-tailored plans mean our clients focus on growing their businesses, while we take care of protecting them from ransomware.

two men and a woman are looking at papers

On average, companies take 197 days to identify a breach, and 69 days to contain it, according to IBM.

a group of people sitting around a laptop computer

Disaster Preparedness

Don’t get caught unaware and unprepared

Running a successful business means having plans for everything. Expect the best, and prepare for the worst. When disaster comes calling, no one wants to get caught flat-footed.

Business continuity is defined as the capability of an organization to continue the delivery of products or services at pre-defined acceptable levels following a disruptive incident. And business continuity is crucial to successful business operations.

That’s why in addition to attack prevention and discovery, we enable ongoing business operations with a fail-safe plan for before and during disaster recovery. Peace of mind is a precious and priceless commodity we happily serve to our customers.

How would business continue if attackers came calling tomorrow?

Disaster Recovery

Don’t let a disaster disrupt business

In case of a serious security breach, it can take unprepared businesses days, if not weeks, to get themselves back online and running at full capacity. A serious disruption to business continuity hurt businesses in so many ways—it makes a business look unreliable, careless, unprepared, uninformed.

Bottom line, a disrupted business appears to be an incompetent business, and will quickly lose the trust and goodwill that are needed to bolster it.

That’s why we are dedicated to an easy and speedy recovery process in the event of a disaster. It is our top priority to ensure that client data and systems are safe, secure, and ready to go, both on-premise and off-site. WheelHouse IT works hard to get businesses back online within minutes, because we believe that hard-working business owners deserve the peace of mind that comes with knowing their business is protected.

a man in a suit pointing at something

So what happened to Rebecca's law firm?

WheelHouse IT kept her business rolling

The cybercriminal who attacked Rebecca’s law firm through Ben’s email thought he was on easy street. Little did he know that there was already a team of the good guys in place, who work smarter, harder, faster, and have resources that he couldn’t even dream of.

WheelHouse IT.

Cybersecurity caught the breach quickly, isolating it and stopping it in its tracks.

Rebecca was notified but not panicked, because she knew there was a rock-solid disaster preparedness plan in place.

There was no major interruption to the business, no data lost, and no escalating catastrophes, because the systems for disaster recovery were set in motion within minutes.

Ben kept his job—better believe he never made that mistake again!

It could happen to anyone, and it will. 95% of small businesses are not equipped for the day when the cybercriminals come calling, and those bad actors won’t stop as long as they find weaknesses to exploit.

WheelHouse IT makes better business practices easy. Let us explain how our IT solutions help businesses stay safe while they grow. Let us protect what you’ve worked so hard to sustain and scale. Let us take care of security, so you’re free to focus on what matters the most—business growth, development, and stability.

Don’t be caught asleep at the wheel when it comes to IT solutions.

Having good cybersecurity, a disaster preparedness plan, and disaster recovery systems could mean the difference between a single attack seriously crippling a business, or business as usual rolling along, no matter what.

Copyright 2021 WheelHouse IT. All rights reserved.

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