Do you feel safer from cyberattacks because your business is smaller? Maybe you didn’t think that a hacker could possibly want anything from you? You didn’t even think they knew about your small business.
This myth has been debunked by cyber security firm Barracuda Networks in a new report. The report analyzed millions of emails across thousands of organizations. In terms of IT security, small businesses have a lot to worry about.
Barracuda Networks discovered something alarming. The number of social engineering attacks at small companies was 350% higher than at larger companies. A small company is defined as one with fewer than 100 employees. A cyberattack is therefore more likely to strike small businesses. Below, we’ll explain why.
What Makes Smaller Companies More Targeted?
Small businesses are seen as low-hanging fruit by hackers for a variety of reasons. They are becoming more and more attractive targets for hackers looking for quick cash.
Cyber security spending tends to be lower among small businesses
It’s often a juggling act to determine where to prioritize your cash when you run a small business. Although cyber security is important, it may not be at the top of your list. Therefore, when cash runs out in a month, it is transferred to the “next month” wish list.
It is common for small business leaders to spend less on IT security than they should. An antivirus program may be all they need to protect themselves. With technology expanding to the cloud, that’s just one layer. For adequate security, you need several more.
Small businesses are easier targets for hackers because they know all this. It is much easier for them to obtain a payout than it would be for them to hack into an enterprise corporation.
There is a hack-worthy resource in every business
Data from every business, even a one-person shop, is worth money to a hacker. Email addresses, credit card numbers, SSNs, and tax ID numbers are all valuable. These can be sold on the Dark Web by cyber criminals. They are then used by other criminals to steal identities.
Here are some of the data that hackers will go after:
- Customer records
- Employee records
- Bank account information
- Emails and passwords
- Payment card details
Small businesses can provide access to larger ones.
A hacker can often make a larger score if they breach the network of a small business. It is common for smaller companies to provide services to larger companies. Among these are digital marketing, website management, accounting, and more.
Some client systems are digitally connected to vendors. The existence of such relationships can allow a multi-company breach to occur. Although hackers don’t need that connection to hack you, it is a nice bonus. Two companies can do the work of one.
Small Business Owners Are Often Unprepared for Ransomware
In the past decade, ransomware has been one of the fastest-growing cyberattacks. Approximately 71% of surveyed organizations have been attacked by ransomware in 2022.
Additionally, the number of victims paying the ransom to attackers has increased. Today, 63% of companies pay the attacker money to get a key to decrypt ransomware.
If a hacker can’t get as much ransom from a small business as they can from a larger organization, it’s still worth it. It is often easier for them to breach smaller companies than larger ones.
By paying the ransom, companies feed the beast and more cyber criminals join in. Newer ransomware attacks often target smaller, more easily breachable firms.
Smaller companies typically don’t train their employees on cyber security
The priority list of a small business owner usually doesn’t include another item. We’re talking about ongoing cyber security training for employees. It may be all they can do to keep good employees. In addition, sales and operations are often the top priorities.
It is common for employees to not be trained on how to spot phishing and password best practices. As a result, networks are vulnerable to one of the biggest dangers, human error.
Cyber attacks are usually carried out with the help of a user. Similar to a vampire needing an unsuspecting victim to invite them in. This unsuspecting cooperation is gained through phishing emails.
Over 80% of data breaches are caused by phishing.
In most cases, phishing emails in an inbox can’t do anything. In order for it to work, the user must either open a file attachment or click a link that will take them to a malicious website. As a result, the attack is launched.
You can significantly increase your cyber security by teaching your employees how to spot these ploys. The importance of security awareness training cannot be overstated.
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