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The SBA Suffers A Data Breach, Congress Gets Zoom-Bombed…And Other Small Business Tech News

By April 27, 2020No Comments

(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 — The SBA may have exposed data of 8,000 SMBs seeking relief loans.

According to a statement given by the Small Business Administration (SBA), almost 8,000 small businesses who applied for small business loans provided by the Emergency Injury Disaster Loan program may have had their information exposed due to a massive data breach. The SBA shared that they disabled the section of their website that was compromised and relaunched the portal with the application. Personal information that is thought to have been compromised may be made up of email addresses, citizenship status, insurance information, birth dates, phone numbers, addresses, and social security numbers. (Source: Pymnts)

Why this is important for your business:

Unfortunately, the SBA has been so inundated processing and approving loan applications submitted in the wake of the CARES Act stimulus program that just trying to find out if you’ve been affected will likely be a frustrating experience.  I think it’s a safe bet, however, that if you were one of the earliest filers for Economic Injury Disaster Loans your data has probably been exposed. The impact of all of this is unknown, unfortunately.

2 — A Zoom-bomb disrupted a House Oversight Committee meeting.

Although there have been many warnings regarding using the popular video conference platform Zoom, a document shared with the House Oversight Committee recently revealed that— on April 3rd— a Zoom meeting was disrupted when a hacker was able to Zoom-bomb a video conference being conducted at the top levels of the U.S. government. Up to this point, most Zoom-bombings typically occurred during classroom or business conferences and— sometimes— even government meetings at the local level. The incident on April 3rd— however— was the first time that a Zoom-bombing incident impacted government at the federal level. (Source: ZDNet)

Why this is important for your business:

There have been many reports of Zoom-bombings and – while some are harmless – the takeaway is that, yes, the platform has had security issues and some hackers are taking advantage. The good news is that the company is taking significant steps to tighten its security, steps that should hopefully make its millions of users more comfortable.

3 — WhatsApp is trialing video calls with up to eight people.

WhatsApp is working on a feature to allow eight individuals to participate in video or group voice calls. In order for this new feature to work, everybody participating in the call will be required to install the most up-to-date version of the iOS or Android beta updates on their device. This new attribute will allow users to start calls using two options, either dialing through an existing group with the option to add additional contacts, or by going into the calls section and selecting “new group call” and choosing the individuals you want on the group call. This feature is currently in beta with potential for a more broad roll out. (Source: Engadget)

Why this is important for your business:

Video conferencing is expanding to many platforms, so maybe if you’re not so comfortable with Zoom you can consider other options. As popular as WhatsApp is in the U.S., the service is even more popular overseas and if your business has customers around the world that are comfortable using the app, the new video conferencing capabilities could be a very useful communication tool for you.

4 —Instagram announced new features for small businesses including gift cards, food orders, and fundraisers.

Facebook shared this past week that small businesses will be getting some help from Instagram, who will be providing ways to simplify the way small businesses can highlight gift cards, fundraisers, and online food orders within their Instagram stories or profiles. Instagram users will now be able to tap on a food order or gift card in order to buy something through the small businesses’ website. In addition to the new feature, small business using Instagram will now be able to advertise their food, gift cards, and fundraisers through Stories by resharing stickers in an effort to promote followers to throw their support behind other small businesses. (Source: CNBC)

Why this is important for your business:

These are even more reasons for your small business to consider using Instagram as a platform to build your community, advertise and offer products and services. If you’ve got some down time while quarantined, I recommend taking the opportunity to test out some of these new features.

5— Amazon is deploying thermal cameras at U.S. warehouses to scan for fevers faster.

According to some Amazon employees, the tech giant has begun utilizing thermal cameras throughout warehouses in order to make their screening of detecting COVID-19 in potentially effected employees more efficient. The cameras are able to calculate the amount of heat that an individual is giving off as compared to their environment. Using the cameras will take much less time to take the temperature and will also require less human contact than the forehead thermometers that Amazon had previously been using to try and track the virus. (Source: Venture Beat)

Why this is important for your business:

As more businesses re-start in the new post-pandemic economy, the safety of both customers and employees will be the number one priority. Heat seeking cameras may be an option, depending on their cost and feasibility. But low tech solutions like frequent temperature checks are also going to be important.

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