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Ecommerce can be amazing. With a few simple clicks, a small business can be online in minutes, selling products and services across the globe. However, when it comes to the relatively new area of online affiliate marketing, businesses need to beware of money laundering schemes that take advantage of these programs.

Affiliate marketing programs incentivize third parties to market the affiliated business for a fee. Some affiliate programs will actually pay third parties percentages as high as 50 to 80 percent when a referred customer makes a purchase. These high percentage programs are particularly susceptible to money laundering schemes, particularly if the purchase results in a resalable item. If you are paying others for affiliate marketing, close monitoring for signs of money laundering should be built into your costs of doing business.

Many companies that do business in some dangerous parts of the world have kidnapping insurance to protect their executives and employees. But now that so much of our commerce and data is online, the whole world becomes dangerous and our companies become vulnerable to ransomware attacks.

So if hackers "kidnap" your network or your company or customer data and try to ransom it back to you, can kidnapping insurance help?

Over the past few weeks, businesses small and large have been forced to deal with the most recent ransomware attack, aptly named WannaCry. Like other ransomware, a business's computers, networks, data, and servers, all get locked down by a hacker that demands payment in untraceable bitcoins to unlock the systems.

However, unlike other ransomware attacks, the WannaCry attack is so simple to avoid that victims would likely want to cry after learning how easy it would've been to prevent, hence the name. The ransomware attack relies on an exploit (a vulnerability in the code) that existed in Microsoft XP. However, before the attacks even started, Microsoft issued a patch to close the exploit (fix the code). Basically, if a user updated their Microsoft XP machine after March of this year, they are safe from the attack. However, computers that were not updated are vulnerable.

When it comes to protecting a company from economic espionage or data theft, business owners don't need to hire James Bond for protection, nor Ian Flemming for ideas. Generally, just having the right policies and security measures in place is all a company can do without making significant sacrifices to the movement of information and exchange of ideas.

However, when a company's process or data is so confidential that disclosure to a competitor could cause disruption, significant sacrifices may actually be worthwhile to safeguard the information. Here are three tips on how to protect against corporate espionage.

While small businesses always need to be alert for hackers and other security threats, tax season always seems to be especially popular for phishing scams. Perhaps it's our eagerness to put the work behind us or get it done quickly, but small business owners can be especially vulnerable to scammers trying to get access to personal employee information regarding tax filings.

Take, for instance, a recent W-2 phishing scam uncovered by cybersecurity analysts Barracuda -- attackers are using multiple techniques to trick small business owners and employees into sending the employee W-2 forms, which can include an employee's name, social security number, and other identifying information. Here's how to keep your small business safe.

Despite the best intentions of business partners when a new venture gets going, unfortunately, sometimes partners do more than just drift apart. Sometimes a partner may intentionally or inadvertently sabotage a business for their own gain.

Even though business partners have the right to control the business, absent specific contractual terms, they will also have fiduciary and other legal obligations to each other. As such, if one partner is found to have sabotaged a jointly owned business, they can be liable to the other joint owners for the harms caused and can be sued.

Just in case you thought the last fax machine was bashed into oblivion during the filming of Office Space, think again. Fax machines remain in existence, and apparently in use for marketing campaigns. So much so, in fact, that lawsuits based on junk faxes in violation of federal consumer protection laws have increased a hundredfold over the past eight years.

So where are these faxes coming from? Who are they getting sent to? And why are they illegal?

When a business partner is stealing from the business, it may be incredibly difficult to detect. Business partners legally have access to business accounts, merchandise, and more. However, misappropriation of any business assets could be considered not just a violation of the partnership under civil law, but could also be criminal acts. Partners are considered fiduciaries for each other.

If you suspect that your business partner is stealing, or misappropriating assets, deciding on the correct course of action is not easy. At the first suspicion, you should contact a qualified business attorney to help guide your investigation, and advise you on whether, when, and how to contact law enforcement, and potentially how to end the partnership without ending the business.

Depending on your business, and what was stolen, how you proceed could be critical to ensuring your business's survival.

MedBox, the company that promised to bring biometric medical marijuana vending machines into existence, was recently busted by the SEC for some rather deceptive practices, which surprisingly doesn't involve the controversial substance. Rather, MedBox was busted for deceiving investors by using fake earnings generated by a secret affiliate and not MedBox to claim the company had substantial revenue and was a marijuana industry leader.

The founder of MedBox, and the company itself, have settled the claims made by the SEC by agreeing to disgorge profits and pay fines, totaling over $12 million, and by the founder agreeing to not be a corporate director or officer of any public companies, and for him not to participate in any penny stock offerings. Others involved, including former corporate directors and officers, are still being investigated and/or pursued by the SEC for their involvement, or complacency (which likely won't suffice as a defense).

The business world is filled with unscrupulous people who are always willing to test the limits of decency and legality when it comes to making a buck. Bribery is one of those things that small business owners need to be cognizant of, as even trusted employees can be compromised, and innocent gifts misconstrued.

Although there are vaguely specific rules about what can be considered a gift, or perhaps a campaign contribution, or donation, businesses need to be careful that these are not construed as bribes. Furthermore, monitoring for employee kickbacks is highly recommended.