Cyber threats get more intelligent and aggressive every year, but today’s unprecedented circumstances have only driven this point home. A recent study by cloud computing company Iomart found that large-scale breaches have increased by 273% in Q1, compared to the same time last year. Hackers and other malicious entities are taking advantage of the fact that people are now working on their personal and less protected routers, deploying their schemes more frequently.
As an entrepreneur, you’re a prime target for these kinds of attacks. Whether they’re after the sensitive customer information that you hold or your money, malicious entities can gain a lot. Here are some of the major cyber threats every entrepreneur should know to avoid.
Ransomware is a type of malware that infects its victims’ files. Usually, the hacker uses the program to lock you out of your own system and demand a fee before they can be opened. And since you won’t be able to operate without access to your files, you’ll be forced to give up your money. The only way to avoid ransomware is by securing your data. Hire a professional to beef up your firewalls, for example, or store files into a local drive.
Then again, Entrepreneurship Life‘s guide to avoiding ransomware informs that you should be prepared for the worst-case scenario and always have a backup file. When you find yourself in such a situation, ignore the hacker’s demand, delete the breached data, and continue operating with your backup.
Chargeback abuse is when customers call the bank directly to ask for a credit refund. If the bank follows through with their request, they will forcibly take money from your account. Chargeback’s main purpose is to protect customers from untrustworthy sellers, but this system can be abused. In fact, Expat Bets, a site that reports on online gaming across Asia, writes that credit card fraud and chargeback abuse are some of the most common types of fraud experienced in online gaming. TechHQ, a well-known tech resource, notes that many online sellers fall victim to this as well, especially now that e-commerce has become the norm.
There’s no stopping dishonest customers from calling their banks, but you can avoid chargeback abuse if you keep good records of your transactions. If the bank sees that everything—such as payment amounts, authorizations, and other factors—checks out, then there’s no reason to issue a chargeback.
Phishing schemes are some of the most common and most damaging cyber threats that face entrepreneurs globally. Last year, CNBC reports that it cost businesses US $200,000 on average. Additionally, nearly half of these attacks were targeted at small businesses. Phishing attacks are deceptively simple: malicious entities pretend to be legitimate business contacts who send you money or information requests over email. If you and your team are not careful, the results could be damaging. Fortunately, phishing emails are easy to spot. Simply check if the email address used to send them is legitimate. Don’t just check the name—see if the domain email is company authorized, too.
But as a general rule, it’s best to avoid asking and receiving sensitive information via email. There are plenty of encrypted communication channels online, like Microsoft Teams and Telegram, for you to use. Much like emails, they also allow attachments and such.
“One thing customers will readily pay for is peace of mind,” says entrepreneur Chris Danquah, one of our notable writers here at The Spirited Hub. If you ensure that your security is up to par, not only will your data and money be safe, but customers will trust you more. Eventually, this could be one of the reasons they come back to make another purchase.
Source Beauty is pushing the boundaries of Egyptian e-commerce
Egyptian e-commerce: the county’s digital drive has not yet gotten to the growth typically seen in European countries and North America. However, as businesses have started shifting online, customers are now following suit, resulting in the gradual development of the digital eco-system.
Innovation, such as digital marketing, is reinventing the consumers’ path to purchase. The Egyptian e-commerce market is expected to grow at a rate of 33% annually to approximately $3bn by 2022, according to Oxford Business Group.
Source Beauty and disruption
The increase in e-commerce comes from rising internet penetration rates, driven by connected and digitally savvy millennials. Several platforms, both locally and internationally, such as the direct-to-consumer beauty platform Source Beauty, have disrupted the beauty industry in the region to drive their growth by truly connecting with their customers.
By being aware of the changing consumer behaviour trends in the e-commerce landscape, service providers like Source Beauty are continually fostering customer engagement with a community they have created. The customer service team, along with the editorial and marketing teams, respond to each comment and direct message, making customers feel listened to.
Lydia Schoonderbeek, the founder and CEO of Source Beauty, said:
“Egypt has traditionally been a price-driven market. After devaluation and high inflation rates, people have become much more price sensitive. People are consuming less and are shifting away from imported products due to price, accessibility and inconsistency in supply. As a result, they’re looking for local alternatives.”
In line with its digital transformation and financial inclusion agenda, the Egyptian government has set in place directives to raise the limit for electronic payments for individuals via mobile phones to EGP30,000 (USD1,905) per day, and EGP100,000 (USD6,350) per month, since March 2020. Traditionally, 70% of online purchases were cash on delivery, which has proven to be a major challenge to e-commerce growth throughout the region. This preference has changed to credit card payments, increasing to 30% from 16% due to the spread of Covid-19, but it remains to be seen whether purchasing behaviors will be affected in the long term.
The CEO of Source Beauty further added that, the company had seen substantial growth thanks to the COVID-19 global pandemic, with existing and new customers wanting to limit in-person beauty services and adhering to social distancing and mask-wearing requirements. Beauty customers, she says were changing spending habits, moving towards products that allow them to recreate the salon experience in their homes and protect them from the potential impact of an increasingly digital lifestyle. Finally, she believes they have seen customers prioritising skincare and haircare purchases over makeup.
The question is, ‘Is anyone in Egypt going to buy beauty products online?’. Who thought people would buy books on the internet from a website called Amazon! Well, the answer seems to be YES. Consumer spending in Egypt on non-essential goods has reached EGP 3.90bn in 2020 and is set to reach 8.81bn in 2021, according to FitchSolution’s 2021 Report.
According to the Egyptian e-commerce beauty company, Source Beauty, it believes that the world is in an era where consumers are looking to associate with brands and not products, to make their beauty purchasing decisions and this is where homegrown brands like theirs will doubtlessly lead to economic growth in Egypt.
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