Application Security IT Security

Small Business Hacking Threats

What are Small Business Hacking Threats?

With the increase in remote work and the use of cloud storage, many small businesses are facing new and increased threats to their cybersecurity due their increased attack surface. An attack surface is the number of possible points, or attack vectors, where unauthorized users can access, manipulate, and/or extract data. Cyberattackers find small businesses to be attractive targets due to the following:

Small businesses have less robust cybersecurity measures in place. Small business owners tend to think of cyberattacks as sophisticated operations that tend to prey on larger and more prominent organizations. In reality, most cyberattackers today do not possess advanced skills- they purchase hacking tools on the dark web and are specifically looking for vulnerable and unsuspecting targets, like small businesses.

Cyberattackers perceive small businesses as weak. Hackers often believe that small businesses do not have the resources to decline to make a ransomware payment- because they either do not back up their data or their business cannot survive the data loss, so the will, therefore, pay the ransom. Cyberattackers also see small businesses as easier to manipulate, and more likely to disclose sensitive information or fall for social engineering tactics.

Small businesses can be gateways to attacking larger businesses. Third-party vendors are often the point of entry that infect larger businesses as they are more likely to have less secure infrastructure, but nevertheless have access to the networks of larger organizations.

There are many alarming cybersecurity statistics1:

  • Cybercrime costs are expected to reach $10.5 trillion, annually, by 2025.
  • In 2021, 21% of total cyberattacks were ransomware attacks.
  • Phishing was observed in 41% of 2021 cyberattacks.
  • Forty-four percent of data breaches include personally identifiable information.
  • It takes an average of 212 days to identify a data breach and an average of 75 days to contain it.
  • The US suffers from the most data breaches worldwide.
  • Sixty percent of companies go out of business within six months of a data breach2.
  • Hackers targeted small businesses 43% of the time because only 14% were prepared to defend against cyberattacks.

Tips to protect small businesses from cyberattackers include:

  • Ensure all employees have cybersecurity training and awareness
  • Enforce strong password policies
  • Boost Wi-Fi security
  • Strengthen email security
  • Secure your payment processor
  • Limit access to sensitive data
  • Enable two-factor authentication
  • Conduct regular vulnerability tests and risk assessments
  • Use up-to-date cybersecurity tools

1 Babu, 2022, “25 Cybersecurity Statistics Small Businesses Should Know”

2 Weaver, 2021, “The Disturbing Facts About Small Businesses that Get Hacked”