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Under Acting Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen’s leadership, we are prioritizing outreach and education for small businesses on data security issues. For example, we recently launched a site with resources to help small businesses stay ahead of the latest scams, reduce the risk of cyber threats, and respond in case of a data breach. Tools like these put easy-to-understand, practical tips in businesses’ hands. We’re also talking to business owners to learn more about their cyber security challenges.

If your business has just a few employees we’re interested in hearing about the challenges you face dealing with cyber threats and data security, and which issues you’re most interested in getting information about. Here are some of our questions:

  • What challenges do businesses like yours face when it comes to protecting data and sensitive information?
  • Where do you get your data security information?
  • Which issues are you most interested in getting information about? Examples include ransomware, email authentication, vendor oversight, encryption, segmenting your network, or authenticating users.

You can post a comment below or email your thoughts to smallbizcyber@ftc.gov. We’re also planning a series of roundtable discussions with small businesses and other interested parties. Our first roundtable event will be held July 25 in Portland, Oregon, in partnership with the Small Business Administration (SBA), the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), and other organizations. Next, we’re going to Cleveland where we’ll host a roundtable discussion with business owners from that city at the offices of the Council of Smaller Enterprises serving Northeastern Ohio in collaboration with the SBA’s district office there. And following Cleveland, we’ll be in Des Moines, IA. Our theme for these Small Business & Data Security Roundtables is Engage, Connect, Protect. Follow our business blog to learn more about this initiative and to get information on how you can participate.

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Comments

what do i do?

I not only own a small business, but I am an IT consultant/strategist to many small businesses with a specific focus on cybersecurity. While I think all of the topics suggested above are great, some of them strike me as a bit too technical for most small business owners (things like network segmentation). I would strongly advocate for education on 'the basics' as I think that would be a tremendous leap forward from where we are today. Teach people how to make a good password that is long and secure but easy for them to remember. Teach people how to track things when you change passwords regularly and have different passwords for every site. Expose the methods and tactics used by cybercriminals so that people can instantly recognize them when they see them. Thank you for your efforts on educating people on topics of cybersecurity!

Thank you so much, Michael, for your input.

There is rampant wire fraud in real estate transactions. Fraudsters have found a very easy target. I would like to see specific emphasis on securing email accounts for Real Estate agents. Lenders and escrow providers are regulated to protect the personal information of the buyer and seller in the transaction. Sadly, the Real Estate agent emails are not secured and are easily hackable. Most have not enabled 2 factor authentication on their accounts or don't even have it available for their accounts. Never heard of an agent using an encryption service. Even if lenders and escrow encrypt all of their communications, it does nothing for any of the communications between agents. Fraudsters hack the listing agent's email, find out info on the transaction and emails of the parties involved, and send well-timed fake emails to convince buyers to wire the closing funds to the fraudster instead of the escrow company.

Thanks, Diane, for your feedback.

I am an IT Consultant with my own business. Had a closed Linked-In account re-opened with a company I never heard of posted as my employer, my photo I had once stored on the site, but decided not to use as my feature photo, and consequently taken down from the site. My choice photo when the acct was active was a different selection. It also had some basic info like my graduate school details. Since I had closed the account, it was a surprise to find it re-opened, without my knowledge or express permission. My company is still in the formulating stages and uses my name as the sole- proprietor. Have been in contact with Linked-in via email for weeks to get the matter resolved. There is no access to take down the false information on the Linked-in website except to open another account. Linked-in has responded via email; but has not said who put the company down as my employer, or why the account was re-opened after being closed for a year. I think companies such as Linked-in that thrive on providing reliable Internet business networking should be accountable, regulated, and required to be accurate in representing the truth about people who use their service. Their website is set so that false information that cannot be removed without having to wait for weeks to receive email responses exclusively. It is an internet operated company and has no listed street address. Bad Linked-In:(
I also found that the search engine Opera collected all the data I searched from all the other search engines I used: Firefox, Google Crome, etc and stored the data, also collected data from my emails I opened on my gmail accts. and then posted the contacts as possible options for future searches on the home page search screen. When I downloaded Opera I had no idea they would collect so much information on my web searches, and emails received. If I had known Opera was using such powerful data collection I would not have even used them.

We appreciate your input. Thank you.

I am one of the three owners of a small business and since were new and small we receive multiple spam email and links to sites that go now where. I hope we can find a way to beat all this scam and spam and viruses from the sick minds of people having nothing better to do than bullies others

I run a small business that receives numerous spam and phishing attacks via email. Many are from fake payment services claiming I have been paid and need to click on a link to confirm. I now take great pains before opening emails even from likely known customers over concerns about losing control of my data. I back up regularly and store the data off-line but my IT is my link to clients. Being without it would be an impact.

very good information for us entrepreneurs, very good work keep this up

I would say the areas I need info on are ransom ware, phishing scams and false antivirus scams.

The way I get my info is online or in the news mostly.

Of course, everybody should be careful from the hacker.They want to still our valuable information.

great post.thanks for sharing

Very useful information for entrepreneurs thank you.

good post serious great

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