The Internet is becoming a very dangerous place to do business and small companies are the most vulnerable. Leading security corporation Symantec released its 2013 Internet Security Threat Report recently and the results are chilling. The number of targeted cyber attacks rose 42 percent last year. There are now nearly 120 such attacks every day around the world. Half of those attacks are directed at small businesses. So why are hackers suddenly so interested in small businesses?
Groups of hackers know that small businesses don’t have the resources or know-how to handle sophisticated attacks. They also know their computer systems have access to their large-company partners to buy, sell or otherwise exchange information. By going after the less-protected small businesses, they find information that helps them hack into the large-company partners or even find electronic gateways that allows them to accomplish their goals.
Some hackers aren’t trying to make a political point or show off how clever they are. They hack to make money and it works. Illegal hacking activity earns billions of dollars per year for perpetrators. The infamous Elderwood Gang, for example, focuses on stealing intellectual property from chemical, engineering and manufacturing companies. They can sell the stolen intellectual property to amoral competitors or blackmail the owners.
Small-business owners need to start taking cyber security very seriously. It's not just about your own information anymore; it's about being used as a vehicle for theft and fraud.
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