Before visiting a business, 90 percent of consumers read online reviews. Your company needs online reviews, but your business could suffer if you encourage or allow fake reviews to populate the internet. Understand the dangers of fake reviews as you build and protect your company.
What are Fake Reviews?
As a business owner, you may solicit or allow fake reviews as a way to bolster your online reputation and attract more customers.
Four common types of fake reviews include:
- Ask family members and friends to share reviews of your company. While your family and friends may be loyal customers, their reviews could be skewed and not provide an accurate picture of your company.
- Pay employees to write reviews. These reviews could appear to be objective but are dishonest.
- Offer your product or service for free in exchange for a written review. While you may boost production volume and customers with this technique, it invites positive rather than honest reviews.
- Encourage reviews on open rather than verified review sites. Numerous review sites allow anyone to leave a review even if they haven’t tried your services or products, a practice that encourages fake reviews.
Dangers of Fake Reviews
Your company faces several dangers because of fake reviews.
Fines – Expect repercussions from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and your state if you violate consumer protection laws that include false advertising.
Damaged Reputation – Online review sites can report fake reviews to consumer alert groups and post this information on your profile. As a result, your company will gain a negative reputation that is nearly impossible to overturn.
Broken Trust – If consumers discover that you’ve encouraged or allowed fake reviews, they will stop trusting your company. You lose credibility and valuable business that affects your company now and into the future.
Lack of Growth – An influx of reviews can improve business temporarily, but your business will suffer if your products or services don’t match the fake reviews.
Public Danger – Fake reviews of physicians, attorneys, accountants or auto repair shops could potentially harm consumers. Other dangers caused by undisclosed allergic reactions or unsafe products can also harm consumers, highlighting the need for only honest reviews.
How to Prevent Fake Reviews
In your quest to attract business and build your brand, you may ask all your customers to leave honest reviews on verified sites. Continue to offer excellent service, too, that prompts customers to praise your company online.
Overall, your company will benefit more from no reviews than from fake ones. Understand the dangers of fake reviews and how to combat them as you retain your credibility, build your reputation and protect your company.
Cyber security researchers recently announced the discovery of two major security flaws that could allow hackers to bypass regular security measures and obtain normally inaccessible data. The flaws, referred to as Meltdown and Spectre, are both caused by design flaws found in nearly all modern processors. These vulnerabilities can be exploited to access all of the data found in personal computers, servers, cloud computing services and mobile devices.
Because Meltdown and Spectre are both caused by design flaws, experts believe that they will be harder to fix than traditional security exploits. Additionally, software patches that have already been released to help address the vulnerabilities can cause computer systems to slow down significantly, which may impact their ability to perform regular tasks.
Researchers believe that Meltdown and Spectre may be limited to processors manufactured by different companies, but also warn that the design flaws that contribute to Meltdown and Spectre have been present for years. Here are some key details about each flaw:
- Meltdown: This flaw can be used to break down the security barriers between a device’s applications and operating system in order to access all of the device’s data. Meltdown can be used to access desktop, laptop, server and cloud computer systems, and can even be used to steal data from multiple users who share one device. Although researchers have only been able to verify that Meltdown affects processors made by Intel, other processors may also be affected. Many software developers have already released updates that prevent hackers from exploiting Meltdown.
- Spectre: This flaw can be used to break down the security barriers between a device’s different applications and access sensitive data like passwords, photos and documents, even if those applications adhere to regular security checks. Spectre affects almost every type of computer system, including computers, servers and smartphones. Additionally, researchers have confirmed that the design flaw that enables Spectre is present in Intel, AMD and ARM processors that are used by nearly every computer and mobile device. Software developers are currently working on a patch to prevent the exploitation of Spectre, but some experts believe that future processors may have to be redesigned in order to fix the vulnerability.
When Meltdown and Spectre were originally discovered in 2017, researchers immediately
reported them to major hardware and software companies so work on security fixes could begin without alerting hackers. As a result, services and applications offered by companies like Microsoft, Google, Apple and Amazon have already been updated to help defend against the flaws. However, you shouldn’t rely solely on a software patch to protect against these vulnerabilities. Here are some steps you can take to protect your computer systems and devices from Meltdown and Spectre:
- Update all of your devices immediately, and check for new updates regularly. You should also encourage your friends, family members and co-workers to do the same.
- Contact any cloud service providers and third-party vendors you use to ensure that they are protected against Meltdown and Spectre. Cloud services and computer servers are especially vulnerable to the exploits, as they often host multiple customers on a single device.
- Install anti-virus and firewall systems to protect against regular malware. Researchers believe that hackers need to gain access to a device in order to exploit Meltdown or Spectre, so keeping your devices free of malware can help prevent data theft.
For additional risk management updates, contact Scurich Insurance today.
Technology can be a risk, especially when it involves your password. You hear about all of the hack attempts on the large corporations, but you don’t hear about the every day person that get’s targeted by a cyber attack. Simply visiting a website could enable your attacker access to your computer. This should push you to protect your most valuable asset, your password! Don’t give the hackers an easy target by not following the simple tips on improving your password.
Improve Your Password
- Change your password every 30-45 days.
- Choose a password between 8-16 characters.
- Use at least two special characters (!@#$%^&*) randomly within your password
- Avoid using family or pet names, dates or common phrases within your password.
- Never reuse or repeat a password across accounts.
Stay Away from COMMON Passwords
Protect yourself (and your company) by making sure you’re not using one of the top 25 most commonly stolen passwords of 2017, as determined by IT security firm SplashData.