The Federal Trade Commission sued Wyndham Worldwide hotels last month after poor security allowed $10,6 million in phony credit card charges. After that happened, it put a spotlight on a growing problem for many small and medium businesses and that is that computer hackers are increasingly targeting them.
Activities like this have plagued large corporations for some time, gaining worldwide recognition whenever a hack from Anonymous or LulzSec surfaces. Sony’s PlayStation Network was one of the more recent big name hacks followed by a Russian hacker posting 6.5 million LinkedIn user passwords online. But now hackers are turning to the small and medium-sized businesses of the world, ones that usually have weaker defenses.
One example comes from a mannequin company out of Brooklyn, New York, which lost $1.2 million in only a few hours. Verizon has also analyzed hundreds of data breaches from 2010 and found that 63% of them happened at companies that had 100 or fewer employees.
The surprising part is that this isn’t a new trend. Kevin Haley, Director at Symantec Security Response, cited company research that showed that only 13% of the 1,900 SMBs the firm surveyed felt completely protected against computer threats. In addition to that, a related study showed that 40% of targeted online attacks had gone after smaller businesses.
The big name hackers, like Anonymous, tend to go after big companies that they find are infringing upon privacy, human rights or some other cause. However, the hackers that are looking for a quick score tend to go after smaller businesses with a nice cash flow and lower security measures.
Things are getting worse for small businesses every day. Not only are they getting hit hard by the economy but what money they do make is being taken from them by hackers. What’s worse is that, according to McAfee and Guardian Analytics, hackers are using fraud automation to increase the power and speed of their attacks while tools found on hacker sites also help people illegally tap into company information networks.
If you are a small business owner, you may want to stock up on as much antivirus protection as possible. You don’t have to be completely protected, just more protected than your competition, because a hacker will always take the easier prey.
Source: CBS News – Hackers target small businesses