Compiled by Jason Dehart
IN THE NEWSCyber Theft a $100-Billion Industry
Believe it or not, cyber theft is a “growth” industry larger than the worldwide drug trade. From “phishing” ploys to “bot-nets” of infected computers, cyber criminals constantly are pushing the technological envelope to make a quick buck.
But all is not lost. There are many simple precautions that companies – and private individual users – can take to counter this threat, according to Ron Teixeira, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance.
“They have to install the right technology, make sure they have anti-virus software and anti-spyware software, and install a firewall,” he said. “They have to make sure the firewall is turned on. And at the same time – and this is really important – they need to make sure their software is kept up to date. Your security software is only as good as the last day it was updated.”
Teixeira said cyber criminals have many tools at their disposal to capture your private information or your company’s priceless customer database.
“The FBI just released a statistic that they know of a million computers within the United States that have been infected with a program that can be used by cyber criminals either to steal the information out of that computer or use that computer to commit other crimes,” he said.
Hard to believe, but these criminals often make use of legal software to do their nefarious bidding.
“The interesting thing is that it’s not that sophisticated,” Teixeira said. “Unfortunately, I don’t think (these programs themselves) are illegal. The problem is the software itself can be used for legitimate purposes, like testing your own network security. It doesn’t become part of an illegal act until somebody actually uses it to commit a crime.”
The National Cyber Security Alliance is a nonprofit, public-private partnership among various agencies and companies, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Trade Commission, the Small Business Administration, Microsoft, Symantec, Capital One and others. For more information, visit staysafeonline.org
DID YOU KNOW?
The Importance of Small Businesses
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, small firms represent 99.7 percent of all employer companies, they employ half of all private-sector employees, they pay more than 45 percent of total U.S. private payroll and they have generated from 60 percent to 80 percent of net new jobs annually over the last decade.
DOLLARS & CENTS
Business or Hobby?
According to IRS.gov, there are distinctions between businesses and hobbies that are important to know. Incorrect deductions of hobby expenses account for a portion of the overstated adjustments, deductions, exemptions and credits that cost $30 billion per year in unpaid taxes.
Here are some tips to help differentiate between hobbies and businesses:
Does the time and effort put into the activity indicate an intention to make a profit?
Does the taxpayer depend on income from the activity?
Has the taxpayer changed methods of operation to improve profitability?
Does the taxpayer or his/her advisers have the knowledge needed to carry on the activity as a successful business?
Does the activity make a profit in some years?
Internet Recruiting Levels Playing Field
According to wachovia.com, the Internet helps level the playing field for small businesses trying to attract new employees. It’s something that can’t be ignored – more than a half million jobs are advertised on the 15 largest career Web sites every day. Wachovia revealed:
A typical Internet employment ad that might cost between $75 and $150 has a potential audience of more than 50 million people around the world.
As a digital medium, online recruiting eliminates the costs of formatting, distributing and publishing in print. This affordability means even small businesses can post ads that reach the same number and caliber of job seekers as the biggest companies.
Internet job seekers are better educated and more affluent than those who aren’t online. Ninety percent of the Internet audience has gone to college and more than 60 percent have bachelor’s degrees. Seventy percent earn more than $25,000 a year. Forty-eight percent earn more than $50,000 a year.
Ten percent of Internet job seekers are management professionals, 20 percent are non-management, 29 percent are employed in computer-related occupations and 30 percent either are employed in colleges or are students.