In recent years, cyber criminals have had a harder time exploiting
enterprises, who have advanced rapidly in terms of cyber security. Not
to be deterred, the hackers have shifted their efforts to easier
targets –small businesses.
Now, more non-enterprise businesses are under attack more than ever.
In 2016, 61 percent of all cyberattacks affected small businesses, up
from just 53 percent the previous year, according to a recent study by Verizon.
Unfortunately, many small business owners are in a state of denial
about their vulnerability, which exacerbates the problem.
How Big a Deal Is This?
Not only are the cyber attacks more frequent, but they are costlier.
A recent study by cyber research firm Kapersky Lab found that the
average cybersecurity attack on a small business will cost around $117,000.
However, hard numbers can understate the total financial and
emotional impact of a cyber attack, which often plays out as a horror
story for the business and its customers. For example,
• Imagine losing all customer billing accounts. This was the
case when an Arkansas company was attacked by ransomware in 2017, but
refused to pay up. Afterward, assailants encrypted 90,000 files in
less than two minutes.
• Consider what mischief unrestricted access to a network might
allow. A four-star Austrian hotel was hit by a ransomware attack
in which the hackers took control of the door lock system and locked
out guests until the ransom was paid.
• Think about explaining a cyber attack to customers. When
WannaCry plunged the National Health Service of England into chaos in
2017, doctors were forced to simply tell patients “our hospital is down.”
The escalating threat has become a national security concern for the
United States. In 2017, the House of Representatives passed the NIST
Small Business Cybersecurity Act (c) which proposes that that the
National Institute of Standards and Technology must establish
cybersecurity guidelines for small businesses as well as federal
agencies and enterprises.
What You're Up Against
Identifying the threats is the first step in security. Here is what
SMBs are up against, and how the threats are evolving:
Malware applications are software written with the
intent to harm. In 2017, there were 7.41 million malware specimens,
an eight percent increase over 2016 levels.
Viruses are malware that can spread themselves.
Email has become the weapon of choice to spread viruses and malware.
Exploits are vulnerabilities in systems that allow
hackers to transmit malware or viruses on systems. Unfortunately,
budget-friendly applications and systems that SMBs tend to use are
also easier to exploit.
Trojans are malware disguised as legitimate
software. Software updates have become the primary vector for Trojans.
Botnets are “zombie” robot networks that can use
many computers in unison to carry out coordinated efforts like DDoS
attacks. Expanding IoT and business networks are increasing the
capability of botnets.
Most small business don't like to think about cybersecurity, which
makes them hot targets for hackers. To prevent a costly cyberattack,
learn the threats and take precautions to protect your increasingly