Hackers’ Preferred Targets: Small Businesses Under 50 Employees
September 20, 2023
Hackers’ Preferred Targets: Small Businesses Under 50 Employees
Small businesses, regardless of their size, revenue, or industry, are prime targets for cyberattacks. I recently got a hold of some startling statistics that reveal hackers now favor these smaller businesses over larger corporations. As a small business owner, it’s easy to underestimate the threat, especially if you haven’t personally experienced a breach or know anyone who has. This week, I’ll bust some myths and unveil eye-opening statistics that shed light on the growing risks. Next week, I’ll provide you with actionable steps you can take to bolster your business’s defenses, making it a tougher nut to crack.
Let’s start with busting the following myths:
Myth 1: “We have been okay all this time, so we should be okay going forward.” Reality: You could be just one major cybersecurity incident away from a catastrophe. While as business owners, we’re accustomed to taking risks, some are simply not worth the potential damage they can cause.
Myth 2: “We don’t really have anything valuable on our computers that hackers would want. If we do get breached, nothing really bad would happen since we don’t have any sensitive information on our computers.” Reality: Hackers can grab stuff you are probably unaware your computer knows about you, such as your personal information. They can linger to capture more, like your keystrokes and logins, and even spread to your contacts, damaging your reputation in the process.
Myth 3: “We are too small for hackers to care about.” Reality: Hackers use automation to scan weak computers and networks around the clock, which costs them very little to do. If you’re easy to breach, their tools can easily infiltrate your systems, and once they do, hand over such access to a hacker.
Myth 4: “We have the best [insert product or service, e.g., antivirus] protecting us, so we are okay, or we have [insert company/provider] taking care of security, so we don’t have to worry about it.” Reality: There is no product or service that can provide complete protection. More than half of cybersecurity incidents occur due to user errors. Prioritizing cybersecurity should begin with leadership to ensure your entire team follows best practices. It all starts with the right mindset and approach.
Onto the stats as promised:
1. In 2019, a report from the National Cyber Security Alliance said that almost half of all cyber attacks happened to small businesses with fewer than 250 employees.
2. In 2020, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center got over 11,000 complaints from small businesses who said they were attacked online. They lost more than $145 million in total.
3. A study by Verizon found that small businesses are more likely to get hit by ransomware attacks. These attacks can cause drastic problems with a business’s operations and cause them major financial losses.
4. In 2021, a hacker targeted a small bakery in the UK. They asked for $5,900 to give back the bakery’s data. If the bakery didn’t pay, the hacker threatened to publish their data online.
5. In 2020, a small doctor’s office in the US was attacked with ransomware. The attack made the office close for two weeks and cost them over $100,000.
6. A report by a cybersecurity company called Symantec said that small businesses with fewer than 250 employees are three times more likely to be attacked online than big companies.
7. A study by the National Cyber Security Alliance found that when small businesses are attacked online, 60% of them go out of business within six months.
8. In 2021, a report from the Small Business Administration (SBA) said that 67% of small businesses had an online attack in the past year. It cost them an average of $200,000 each time.
9. Another report by Cybersecurity Ventures said that by 2025, online attacks on small businesses will cost the world’s economy $10.5 trillion.
10. A study by a cybersecurity company named Kaspersky Lab found that small businesses are more likely to be tricked by phishing attacks. These attacks use fake emails or websites to get people to share their private information.
Chances are, many of your clients, vendors, and friends have experienced cybersecurity breaches. Often, these incidents are kept private, behind closed doors. Think about it: when we hear about a burglary on our street, we rush to install alarm systems. Unfortunately, all too often, we become the victims and only then consider securing our digital doors.
Let’s change that narrative! Look out for our upcoming newsletter next week, filled with actionable cybersecurity tips. Together, we can make sure the bad guys don’t win.
– Burak Sarac, Team Lead
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