Is Your Small Business a Big Target to Cyber Criminals?

When small business owners read news reports about the cyber-attacks that large corporations suffer, they tend to do so with a sense of detachment — as if those kinds of things would never happen to them.

They imagine that hackers would only want to target J.P. Morgan Chase, American Express and Twitter because they’re large and world-famous.

They could get rich off the treasure troves of information that they steal from them.

What could they possibly get out of hacking a small business?

small business identity theftThat’s why small targets are so tempting to criminals

It makes some sense to think that small business owners don’t get attacked — there are rarely any reports in the news, after all.

This is not to be taken to mean that small businesses don’t get attacked, though. Such attacks are simply not sensational enough to appear in the news.

If you need to know about the rate at which small businesses are attacked, you need to turn to cyber security nonprofits like the National Cyber Security Alliance.

According to their statistics, 20% of American small businesses are attacked by cyber criminals.

Symantec, the antivirus company, has similar statistics — one in three of all cyber-attacks each year are aimed at small businesses with fewer than 250 employees.

When small businesses are attacked, they nearly never recover.

Nearly 2 out of 3 go out of business within months.

It stands to reason that small businesses would make attractive targets.

Since they believe that they are too small to be of interest to any criminal, they usually have poor practices.

hackers targeting small businessesWhy small businesses are targeted

Sometimes, when cyber criminals attempt to break into the computers of a small business, they aren’t directly interested in them.

They simply need to break in to be able to gain access to the large businesses that they have relationships with — banks, clients and so on.

Their computers are likely to have passwords for entry into the systems of those larger businesses. Small businesses, then are simply an easy entry point into the websites of major businesses.

smart phones and identity theft Smartphones are a new threat to small businesses

Cyber criminals don’t necessarily restrict themselves to entering businesses through their data servers.

Since smartphones and tablets often have very little security on them, they tend to be attractive as backdoors into businesses.

Once a criminal has access to the smartphone of a small business employee, he/she can use information stored on it to enter the main computers of the business.

Criminals are often also interested in the information stored on mobile phones.

Business mobile phones have client contact lists, call logs, voicemail and text messages — all full of important information that hackers could use to access important financial accounts.

business taking security seriously It’s time for small businesses to take security seriously

When it comes to their mobile devices, small business owners need to learn how important security is.

It’s important to use every security measure available on mobile phones: To a businessman who often needs to make calls or consult his phone, a password wall can quickly get tiresome.

Since passwords are one of the few things that keep intruders out of phones, it’s important to not disable them.

If keying in a password seems bothersome, you simply need to use a phone that has smarter protection. Many phones offer pattern drawing and picture passwords on their lockscreens, for instance.

The iPhone 5S and newer models offer the easiest access method of all — fingerprint scanning. You should use whatever you need to make sure that you do have protection.

You should make sure that your password is strong enough: The longer your PIN number, the better. While it may be difficult to remember a 6-digit PIN number, it can protect you better.

Whatever you use, though, it shouldn’t be the same number that you use on your bank account.

 Bring in a consultant to provide cyber security to your entire business

Whether it is bringing in better security software, encrypting your data or creating a security policy for your employees, it’s important to bring in a consultant to make sure that you cover all the bases correctly.

A consultant should be able to advise you on how to secure your business on the limited resources that it has access to.

5 thoughts on “Is Your Small Business a Big Target to Cyber Criminals?

  1. Andrea Robinson says:

    As a small business owner, I have some pretty awesome security for my computer, but I can see that I need to beef up security on my phone! I didn’t realize how many small businesses get attacked. Thanks so much for this info.

  2. Damon says:

    Very good point! Small businesses are just a funnel to the larger business. I can see how a small business might be more of a target due to the fact that they are not likely to have a “security” team for their IT department and would miss any attack that might be coming their way.

  3. Angela Christu says:

    Wow! Extremely relevant! I am a small business owner myself, and have that same exact mentality you mentioned above. Why would cyber criminals target little people like me when they can get the big guys? This article was a great eye opener to my awareness of online security and why I should actually be more proactive about taking measures to secure it. And me cell phone? I access everything from there! Thank you for waking me up, I need a good nudge every once in a while.

  4. Oliver says:

    I do own a small business with own shop and some activities on the big platforms. I guess it’s more difficult for business owners, irrespective of the size of your company, since you (have to) present more details on your internet pages than a private person does.

  5. Pam says:

    I am working on setting up my own business and while I find passwords and security steps to be incredibly annoying, I also see their value. I understand that that small businesses are just a stepping stone to larger ones and that they are used to make money as well as practice skills. It’s a terrible thing that we all have to watch out so closely for ourselves these days but this article makes great points on how to prevent scams and other issues.

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