Small Businesses and Cyber Crime

Two recent reports about cyber crime have indicated that small businesses are a big target for cyber attacks. Symantec released a study that states that 31 percent of attacks targeted businesses with fewer than 250 employees. Verizon released a report stating that close to half of cyber attacks targeted companies with fewer than 1,000 employees. In addition to small businesses being targeted, new businesses are especially vulnerable. Symantec reports that most startup companies have been infected with malware within 10 months of opening. As your small business advisor, PADGETT BUSINESS SERVICES® has pulled together this information on common cyber attacks and how you can protect your business from them.

Who Are Cyber Attackers?

There are three different categories of cyber attackers: activists, spies and criminals. Activists usually do not target a specific individual or company, but instead use basic and opportunistic attack methods in order to create maximum disruption. Spies make the most targeted attacks, using intricate tools to access intellectual property, insider information or financial data. Criminals are drawn by financial gain and use complicated hacking methods.

How Do Attacks Occur?

Cyber attackers use hacking in 52 percent of data breaches. The different methods of hacking involved include:

  • Breaking weak usernames and passwords or stealing credentials
  • In-person attacks, skimming
  • Social tactics, phishing
  • Using malware – malicious software, script or code. Common malware attacks include:

    • Ransomware: Locks computers until a fee is paid
    • Software designed to steal information from mobile devices
    • Software designed to use a company’s web site to gain access to another company’s database

How Can You Protect Against Cyber Crime?

Small businesses can take several steps to protect against cyber crime. These steps include:

  • Check your business insurance to see if cyber attacks are covered
  • Use strong passwords and change them often
  • Train employees in methods to limit cyber risks and protect sensitive information
  • Install appropriate firewall and antivirus technology and update security software patches
  • Monitor employee use of mobile devices and Wi-Fi access
  • Create a plan to manage a cyber attack
  • Essential business services should not be exposed to the Internet

Cyber crime is increasingly attacking new and small businesses. PADGETT BUSINESS SERVICES® gathered the information above to inform small and new business owners on the threats of cyber attacks and the steps they can take to protect themselves. For more than 40 years, small businesses have trusted us with their financial reporting. Contact us today to learn more about our proven financial services for your small business.

Do you have the support you need to manage your small business bookkeeping? Contact us to schedule an appointment to speak with a local small business advisor.