As IT professionals, we have mixed feelings about the way Hollywood tends to portray our industry. On the one hand, it’s fun that movies portray us as young, attractive people who only fit our technical work in between international travel and kung fu lessons. On the other hand, though, a lot of the business owners we meet with hold onto mistaken ideas about the way business tech works because of something they saw in a film or TV show.
To give you a sense of why these misunderstandings can leave you vulnerable, let’s take a look at five myths you might believe about computer hacking and the criminals who engage in it…
#1 Hacking Requires Sophisticated Tools
In the movies, hackers are always using supercomputers and digital devices that seem like they would come from a spy agency. However, in the real world hackers use simple tools like regular laptops, Wi-Fi routers, and even credit card skimmers to get what they want. Cybercrime is a lot more common than most businesspeople tend to think, and it doesn’t require thieves to have very much specialized equipment.
#2 Hackers are Always Prodigies
On the big screen, hackers are typically portrayed as hyper- intelligent teenagers, or perhaps foreign experts with advanced degrees in technology and mathematics. Most of the time the reality is a lot more mundane. Your average hacker isn’t extraordinarily cunning or creative. They don’t have to be. If they had extraordinary gifts they would be using them to change the world or make a fortune, not break into emails and databases.
#3 Hackers Always Want Money
The Hollywood version of hacking involves a major heist where the perpetrators try to get away with millions upon millions of dollars. These types of crimes are committed, of course, but aren’t nearly as common as the small thefts that take place on a daily basis. In fact, some hackers aren’t looking for money at all. Instead, they are searching for passwords, personal photos, or other information they can use to steal, trade, or blackmail.
#4 You’ll Know Immediately When You’ve Been Hacked
In nearly every blockbuster, a successful hack will be followed by some kind of showy revelation, such as a detailed animation that alerts the target to the fact that their computers have been compromised. That’s not likely to happen in the real world. You may notice you been hacked when you experience a loss of connectivity (or money), but it could take weeks or even months before you become aware of the breach.
#5 Hackers Only Go After Big Targets
Probably the biggest and most enduring myth about hacking is that huge banks and governmental agencies are the main targets. Again, these groups are targeted by online thieves, but not nearly as often as small and medium-sized businesses. Criminals are criminals, online or off. They are generally going to look for the easiest targets. Why go after a big organization when you’re less likely to get caught stealing from a smaller one?
Is Your Business Protected?
The one question you should be asking yourself, when thinking about the way hackers work in the real world, is whether your business is an easy target or not. If you don’t know, or suspect you aren’t as well protected as you could be, now would be a great time to let our team of experts get to work for you.
Contact us today so we can show you how easy and affordable it is to not only keep your company and its data safe, but also ensure that all of your tech is set up to help your business grow.