If you’re a small business owner of any kind, you should be paying closer attention to your cybersecurity. After all, hackers and digital criminals are targeting smaller businesses like never before, with the average cost rising in 2021 to $200,000 per incident for the average SME affected.Source: Unsplash
If you care about your bottom line, now is the time to improve your cybersecurity best practices. In order to protect against such threats, you need to understand why businesses like yours are being targeted. Read on to find out exactly why cybercriminals attack small businesses.
Less cybersecurity training
This is pretty much the primary reason why hackers target smaller businesses. If you run a store with five employees, you probably are not dedicating a lot of resources to cybersecurity training. In addition, you probably do not have the spare cash to hire cybersecurity experts to manage the defences of your sensitive data.
Put simply, smaller operators make easier targets. However, you do not need to invest thousands and thousands of pounds on expert security training courses for your team. For smaller businesses, it is often enough to simply learn the main ways hackers will target you and to guard against these.
For example, the most common way that a hacker will try to get your business’ data will be to brute force your password or obtain your passwords via a phishing attack. You can easily close off this option entirely by opting for alternatives to passwords, such as passphrases or 2FA text messages. It really is that simple.
Gateways to bigger fish
Did you know that small businesses are often attacked because they are a stepping stone to bigger, much more valuable targets? Let’s explain this with an example. In 2013, the US retail giant Target was hacked by criminals who made off with the credit card data of 40 million customers, then the largest consumer hacking incident ever.
How did they get into Target’s system? They first targeted a small air conditioning company that had installed some units are Target locations in the US, hacking the smaller company to get their hands on the bigger company’s private data.
If your business has any connection whatsoever with a very large company or institution, perhaps one you have worked as a contractor for, then you are a high-priority target for hackers.
Finally, small businesses tend to be targeted simply because they are easier to pressure and manipulate than the bigger players. Typically, a small business owner who has been locked out of their system and finds that their data is being held ransom is much more likely to give up and pay the hacker whatever they want.
Small businesses cannot afford downtime in the same way that larger ones can, nor can they afford to start afresh or ignore the demands of hackers in the same way that a Fortune 500 company could easily do. The easiest way to avoid getting in a situation like this is to beef up your cybersecurity best practices and stay on top of the tactics used by malicious actors.
This is why hackers are targeting businesses like yours in 2022. Remember, staying alert to the threat is the most impactful thing you can do to prevent yourself from becoming a target.