“Cheshire home business owners: you are under attack!”

Cyber safety guide by Neil Lewis hopes to help business stay safe online

Home business owners across the UK are under attack, according to the Cheshire-based author of ‘CyberSafr Home Business Guide’, Neil Lewis.

He explained: “Despite the major 2017 hacks and ransoms at international companies such as Equifax, Uber and national health services across the world, the big and mid-sized organisations are stepping up their cyber security quickly and effectively.”

Neil stood as a candidate in the election for the role of Cheshire police and crime commissioner in 2016, and based much of his campaign on a platform of improving cyber security for Cheshire.

He claims that home business owners – of which there are 400,000 across the North West and 5 million in the UK – are fast becoming the latest target for international cybercriminals.

He cites studies which show as many as 7 out of 10 Android smart phones may be insecure.

Many of those devices are owned by people running home businesses, which provide services to larger companies and organisations and therefore offer a window through which cybercriminals can attack the larger organisations.

Mr Lewis said: “A hack or cyberattack can be catastrophic for the home business owners too. Not only do SME businesses report substantial financial loss - typically around £10,000 - but further studies show that 70% of customers leave following a cyber incident.

“Those two reasons explain why it is common for small and home businesses to fold after a cyber breach.”

So what can the home business owner do? The well-worn advice is to regularly update your software, maintain strong passwords and take control of your router and devices.

But how do you go about implementing these recommendations? It can seem a bit of a minefield.

Problems arise, for instance, when other family members share your internet connection and spend their time gaming or watching movies they’ve downloaded.

While many of us like to think that we’re duly cautious before we click a link - what about our children, or other members of the household?

And then more recently we’ve seen the introduction of innovations such as internet connected washing machines, bluetooth speakers, children’s dolls, smart watches, media players, tablets, smart hoovers, smart security cameras and digital locks.

How do we know that these are secure? Are they safe when used together on the same home network?

“In many cases the answer is no,” warned Mr Lewis.

He added: “With the ten-fold expansion in digitally connected devices (also known as the internet of things) your home and workplace is becoming more and more vulnerable.

“Did you know for instance, that there are hundreds of thousands of hacked webcams around the world that internet users can search, find and watch?

“That’s why I wrote the CyberSafr Home Business Guide - because we all need help to close our digital front doors and lock our virtual backdoors.”

‘CyberSafr Home Business Guide’ has translated the noise, panic and confusion of cyberattacks and data hacks into simple, actionable steps that business owners can take to secure their business, family and livelihood.

Published in December 2017, the 2018 guide is now available to purchase through Amazon as a paperback or Kindle edition: just search CyberSafr (all one word, without the ‘e’).

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