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Staying safe while shopping small businesses online

Saying safe online
Holiday shopping: Staying safe online

With holiday shopping gearing up, the Small Business Administration said online sales are expected to exceed $1 trillion this year.

But according to the FBI, in 2021, cybercrimes against small businesses reached a record high of $2.4 billion.

Ashley Podhradsky, the Vice President of Research and Economic Development at Dakota State University in Madison, said since the pandemic began, more small business are on digital platforms and many do not have the resources that larger corporations have to protect themselves from cyber attacks.

Podhradsky said cybersecurity is everyone's responsibility—from the retailer, to the government, to the consumer.

Retailers can help by training employees, reinforcing security protocols, and regularly updating system software, according to the SBA. And for small business owners who do not know where to start, Dakota State University in Madison has free resources that can help through its Cyber Safe SD program.

Podhradsky said consumers have responsibilities as well. These include things like using multifactor authentication technology and unique passwords. Consumers should also keep an eye out for hackers trying to trick them into giving up personal data.

Jaime Wood, the South Dakota District Director with the SBA said, even with the risks, patronizing small businesses is crucial for rural communities like those in South Dakota. She said the hearts of small business owners are with their communities and most of the money spent in small business goes right back into the community.

Small Business Saturday is Nov. 26 and Cyber Monday is Nov 28.

Krystal is the local host of "All Things Considered."