Small Businesses Are Easy Target For Cyber Attacks

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The June 2012 Symantec Intelligence Report found that 36 percent of all targeted attacks that were detected over the last six months were directed at businesses with 250 or fewer employees. In comparison, a mere 18 percent of targeted attacks went after small businesses in December 2011. Thirty-six per cent of all targeted cyber attacks (58 per day) during the last six months were directed at businesses with 250 or fewer employees, the June 2012 Symantec Intelligence Report suggests.

The total number of targeted attacks detected each day also increased in the first half of the year, with an average of 151 targeted attacks being blocked each day during May and June, Symantec said. Targeted attacks “went through the roof” in April, at an average of 468 per day, researchers found.

According to Symantec here appears to be a direct correlation between the rise in attacks against smaller businesses and a drop in attacks against larger ones. It almost seems attackers are diverting their resources directly from the one group to the other. Smaller businesses are often perceived as being easier to victimize since they are less likely to have a full IT staff to look after attacks, according to Symantec. An email that appears to come from a particular individual of could find itself automatically forwarded on to other business contacts, and spreading the infection.

The shifting focus will make security even more expensive for these small businesses. Many of the targeted attacks are designed to take advantage of the weaker company in order to access intellectual property or strategic information that could be used to damage another company.

Cyber attacks are a global phenomenon that is currently affecting businesses in London and the UK. 76 percent of small businesses admitted to having suffered a security breach last year. Approximately 54 percent of small businesses in the UK do not have any programme for educating their staff about security risks, and this often results in organisations being forced to take emergency measures after a breach has occurred.

Cyber security tips

1. Use Strong Passwords and Change Them Regularly

2. Look Out for E-mail Attachments and Internet Download Modules Case Two: MyDoom Worm Hits Thousands of Small Businesses Hard

3. Install, Maintain, and Apply Anti-Virus Programs

4. Install and Use a Firewall

5. Remove Unused Software and User Accounts; Cleanout Everything on Replaced Equipment

6. Establish Physical Access Controls for all Computer Equipment

7. Create Backups for Important Files, Folders, and Software

8. Keep Current with Software Updates

Case Eight: Diners Have Supply Chain Interrupted; Inn Loses Reservation System when Software Not Updated

9. Implement Network Security with Access Control

10. Limit Access to Sensitive and Confidential Data Case Ten: Credit Union Employee Uses Personal Information for Financial Gain

11. Establish and Follow a Security Financial Risk Management Plan; Maintain Adequate Insurance Coverage

12. Get Technical Expertise and Outside Help When You Need It

13. Check periodically technology new sites where you can find the latest information about attacks and web protection.

Small companies, those with fewer than 500 employees, may be experiencing as many as half of all targeted cyber-attacks. Small businesses seem to be more susceptible to sophisticated cyber attacks.

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