Small Businesses Are Attacked by Hackers 3x More than Larger Ones
Have you felt more secure from cyberattacks because you have a smaller business? Maybe you thought you couldn’t have anything hackers could want, and you didn’t think they even knew about your small business.
Well, a new report by cybersecurity firm Barracuda Networks debunks this myth. Their report analysed millions of emails across thousands of organisations and found that small companies have much to worry about regarding their IT security.
Barracuda Networks found something alarming. Employees at small companies saw 350% more social engineering attacks than larger ones. It defines a small company as one with less than 100 employees, which puts small businesses at a higher risk of falling victim to a cyberattack. We’ll explore why below.
What Makes Smaller Companies More Vulnerable to Targeting?
There are many reasons why hackers see small businesses as low-hanging fruit. And why they are becoming larger targets of hackers to score a quick illicit buck.
Small Companies Tend to Spend Less on Cybersecurity
When you’re running a small business, it’s often a juggling act of where to prioritise your cash. You may know cybersecurity is essential, but it may not be at the top of your list. So, at the end of the month, you run out of cash and add expenditures to the “next month” wish list.
Small business leaders often don’t spend as much as they should on their IT security. They may buy an antivirus program and think that’s enough to cover them. But with the expansion of technology to the cloud, that’s just one small layer, and you need several more for adequate security.
Hackers know all this and see small businesses as an easier target. They can do much less work to get a payout than they would be trying to hack into an enterprise corporation.
Every Business Has “Hack-Worthy” Resources
Every business, even a 1-person shop, has data worth scoring for a hacker. Credit card numbers, SSNs, tax ID numbers, and email addresses are all valuable. Cybercriminals can sell these on the Dark Web. From there, other criminals use them for identity theft.
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 Entry Into Larger Ones
If a hacker can breach a small business’s network, they can often make a more significant score. Many smaller companies provide services to larger companies, including digital marketing, website management, accounting, and more.
Vendors are often digitally connected to specific client systems, and this type of relationship can enable a multi-company breach. While hackers don’t need that connection to hack you, it is a nice bonus, and they can get two companies for the work of one.
Small Business Owners Often Fail to Prepare for Ransomware
Ransomware has been one of the fastest-growing cyberattacks of the last decade. So far, in 2022, over 71% of surveyed organisations have experienced ransomware attacks.
The percentage of victims that pay the ransom to attackers has also been increasing. An average of 63% of companies pay the attacker money in hopes of getting a key to decrypt the ransomware.
Even if a hacker can’t get as much ransom from a small business as they can from a larger organisation, it’s worth it. They often can breach more small companies than they can larger ones.
When companies pay the ransom, it feeds the beast, and more cybercriminals join in. And those newer to ransomware attacks will often go after smaller, easier-to-breach companies.
Smaller Companies Usually Don‘t Train Their Employees in Cybersecurity
Another thing not usually high on the list of priorities for a small business owner is ongoing employee cybersecurity training, and priorities are often sales and operations.
We often fail to train employees to spot phishing and password best practices, leaving networks vulnerable to human error, one of the biggest dangers.
In most cyberattacks, hackers need help from a user. It’s like the vampire needing the unsuspecting victim to invite them inside. Phishing emails are the device used to get that unsuspecting cooperation.
Phishing causes over 80% of data breaches.
A phishing email sitting in an inbox can’t usually do anything. The user must either open a file attachment or click a link to take them to a malicious site, which then launches the attack.
Teaching employees how to spot these ploys can significantly increase your cybersecurity. Security awareness training is as vital as having a strong firewall or antivirus.
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This article is used with permission from The Technology Press.