Although it is generally assumed that cyber attacks only target large companies that handle a lot of money and information, the truth is that digital criminals also target small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the self-employed and entrepreneurs.

Since criminals know that the vast majority of SMBs don’t have a great computer security system, they regularly attempt attacks. Malicious actors are also largely opportunistic, meaning they take the easy route: online accounts that aren’t properly secured, devices that don’t have security software installed, or computers that don’t have the latest operating system, browser, and other software versions.

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This is especially serious when it comes to the cyber risk faced by sellers or freelancers. “The challenges for those working individually are not just limited technological resources. The biggest impact is probably the freelancer’s reputational damage and the financial consequences. Recovery is more difficult in both scenarios. All this without mentioning the loss of productivity. The time that the owner of a company that works for its own account has to spend cleaning up its technological infrastructure after an attack is time that it cannot spend serving its customers,” says Camilo Gutiérrez Amaya, head of the lab from ESET. Latin America Research.

There is little publicly available data on the magnitude of the breaches affecting the self-employed, entrepreneurs and SMEs worldwide, and Ecuador is no exception. However, computer security companies warn about common scenarios that can affect:

For example, in the UK, media reports such as The Guardian indicate that very few micro-enterprises have a formal security strategy. However, the average cost of security breaches over the past 12 months was more than $3,740, a figure that could have a significant impact on companies of this size. That’s why freelancers should take some time to master the basics of security.

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ESET has created a list of preventive measures that SMEs, self-employed persons and entrepreneurs can take to avoid being targeted by cybercriminals: