Your Small Business Might Be at Risk

No matter what kind of business you run, if you use the Internet, you're at risk for a cyber attack. Here are the basics of what cyber criminals are after, how they get it and who they're targeting in your organization.

What Cyber Criminals Are After

Cyber criminals look for information on your business and your customers. Whether it's kept on servers, is sent through emails or is sitting archived on your employees' desktops, cyber criminals have ways to infiltrate and harvest your valuable data.

Here's a list of what they're looking for:

  • Customer records (including contact information, sales history and passwords)
  • Contact lists
  • Employee Information (including email addresses and passwords)
  • Company banking information
  • Credit Card numbers

They also want to find a way to:

  • Compromise servers
  • Infect computers with viruses and malware
  • Access your system

How Criminals Target Small Businesses

Cyber criminals have developed dozens of ways to exploit the vulnerabilities that may exist in your business. From email scams that target employees to malware that gathers sensitive information, the attacks are complex and effective. Knowing what you're up against will help you protect against it.

Here's a breakdown of the kinds of attacks small businesses can expect to face. This is based on a four-week study of types of attacks participating small businesses experienced[1] :

Viruses, worms, Trojans
Web-based attacks
Stolen devices
Malicious code
Malicious insiders
Phishing & social engineering
Denial of service

This indicates that virtually all small businesses have to deal with viruses, worms, trojans, botnets, and other malware. In fact, this is true for everyone online, from individuals at home to large multinational enterprises.

While less common, web-based attacks, the theft of devices, phishing and social engineering attacks happen often enough to warrant attention. Reducing these threats involves a broader awareness of security beyond just your computer system; it also includes educating employees on cyber security.

Denial of service attacks are rarely reported by small businesses. If you think such an attack is affecting your business, contact your internet service provider for assistance.


[1] Ponemon Institute. Second Annual Cost of Cyber Crime Study, 2011

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