Why do hackers target small businesses?

Why do hackers target small businesses?

Barely a week goes by without a major attack hitting the headlines. However, those that make headlines tend to involve high-profile victims, such as Facebook, Yahoo and Walmart. This creates the impression that only the biggest organizations are worthy targets for hackers hoping to hit the motherlode.

Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, studies show that small businesses are the targets of around 61% of all data breaches. Since most hackers are opportunists who don’t want to take any unnecessary risks, smaller organizations are the perfect target because they don't take security seriously enough.

The rise of cybercrime as a service

The hacker stereotype often paints a picture of a pale-faced evil genius lurking in a basement using his superhuman technical skills to nefarious ends. While there are many talented technology experts out there leveraging their skills for digital heists, the last few years have seen the unprecedented rise of amateur hackers who pay for malware or hacking services on the black market.

No amateur hacker can hope to get through the digital equivalent of Fort Knox, so they target vulnerable small businesses instead. Even so, most companies still have some sort of administrative and technical safeguards in place, which would be beyond the skills of an amateur to circumnavigate. That’s why cleverer criminals are onboarding them in their schemes while taking a commission from the proceeds.

Ransomware is the most common form of this crowd-sourced cybercrime, and small businesses are often easy targets. All an amateur criminal needs to do is go to the dark web, obtain the latest ransomware software, and start sending it out en-masse to potential victims until something bites. By encrypting all the data on a victim’s hard drive, they’ll then try to extort a ransom in Bitcoin.

How phishing scams exploit clueless victims

The average phishing scam is woefully obvious to many of us. But there are more cunning scams out there perpetrated by more experienced criminals who know just how to launch successful social engineering attacks. Again, small businesses tend to be the favorite target as they often don’t have well-trained staff who are aware of all the cyberthreats out there.

Humans are almost invariably the weakest link when it comes to cybersecurity. From reusing passwords to failing to keep their systems up-to-date, a single mistake can be very costly, and no amount of technical or administrative security measures can help in such a situation. Given the fact that most small business employees have only a basic knowledge of IT and cyberthreats, criminals thrive on exploiting this ignorance.

It’s also important to remember that everyone in your company is a potential target, from low-level office workers right up to the CEO. In fact, targeted phishing scams often go for C-suite employees in small businesses, since they’re more likely to have access to high-value information, such as financial data or employee and customer records. So no matter how small your business is, every member of your team, regardless of rank should receive ongoing security awareness training.

Having a robust infrastructure to protect your mission-critical data will help keep your company safe in any eventuality. However, it requires expertise and technology that few small businesses can afford to keep in-house. That’s where XBASE comes in helping you to lock down your network with cutting-edge security you can depend on. Call us today to schedule an assessment.