According to a Symantec study, 43 percent of all cyberattacks are targeted at small businesses.
It may seem counter-intuitive to some people as to why hackers would want to target such companies. But one obvious reason is it’s easy for them to breach the security of small businesses, which may not be able to recover from the damage.
Why do hackers target small businesses?
Many business owners are adamant that hacks do not occur to them because they are small fish in a large pond. But what they do not realize is that hackers would rather prey on a few, small, easy-to-catch fish than big and difficult ones. Ignoring this fact makes small businesses unprepared, as they are not able to anticipate possible attacks and study how to respond effectively.
Be it denial that more hacks are occurring to small businesses or the lack of funds to set up proper IT security infrastructure, the fact is that small firms do not have the right protection in place. This makes these companies a target for hackers as the door is left wide open for them.
What do hackers take?
Accounting and finance data
A small company may not have assets that the hackers want to steal, but they do have accounting and finance data that are valuable and can be sold. These files hold a trove of information from customer credit cards, company bank accounts, lines of credit, and more.
Client and employee data
Hackers can take client and employee data that businesses store within their logs. These pieces of information include credit card details, addresses, full names, and payrolls. The sensitive client data can be sold to competitors or used for identity theft or as blackmail.
Hackers also take information hostage for ransom. They start by sending an email to an employee. A virus will spread if the malicious email attachment is clicked. The entire data from the company will be stolen and the files will be encrypted so that they can’t be used.
Only after the company pays the ransom will all the data be restored. The ransom is often in bitcoin so that forensics won’t be able to track the criminals.
Steps to prevention
The best way to avoid being targeted by cybercriminals is to ensure that the security in the company is solid. For small businesses that do not have much to invest, looking into a cleanup plan for the existing systems can help. This way, they can fill gaps in the system which could cost them a lot more if not addressed.
Another good option, though quite expensive, is to outsource a cybersecurity service. Small business owners can have peace of mind knowing that professionals are watching out for potential threats.
Not everything can be prevented. Sometimes, malware may slip through the cracks and remain undetected, posing future problems for the company. Insurance, then, should be a part of the cybersecurity plan to safeguard business funds in case of a breach.
Most of the breaches that occur start with an employee clicking on a malicious link. Educating your employees about cyberattacks or cybersecurity is therefore important. Establish ground rules and internet safety procedures in the company and teach these things to all new and existing employees to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Cybercriminals are getting smarter and more innovative with their means and in choosing their targets. It is therefore imperative that small business owners tighten their IT security before disaster strikes.
Source: Tech In Asia