Nearly Half of Cyberattacks Target Small Businesses, Study Finds

Almost half of all cyberattacks (43%) are directed at small businesses, according to data compiled by the small businesses mentoring specialists at SCORE.

Macro malware is the predominant type of cybercrime affecting small businesses, with online banking and ransomware attacks trailing close behind.

Small businesses were affected by 113,000 incidents of macro malware in 2017:

  • Macro malware is embedded within email attachments, such as word processing documents.
  • 39% of the 269 billion emails sent and received in 2017 were spam messages.
  • Small businesses can protect themselves from macro malware by avoiding downloading attachments from unknown email addresses, and disabling macros in Microsoft applications.

Small businesses experienced 66,000 online banking malware attacks in 2017:

  • Online banking malware is malicious software that steals banking credentials and/or credit card information.
  • Online banking is extremely popular, with 71% of customers using online banking and 43% using mobile banking – and thieves only need nine minutes to use stolen data.
  • Small businesses can protect themselves by directly typing in the bank’s website address as a precaution, and enabling multi-step authentication.

Small businesses were affected by 54,000 ransomware incidents in 2017:

  • Ransomware is malware downloaded from compromised sites or infected files that lock a device until ransom is paid.
  • The average amount demanded during a ransomware attack is $1,077 – but the average cost to businesses is $133,000 (when accounting for downtime, lost opportunities and recovery costs).
  • Small businesses can protect themselves by ignoring suspicious emails with urgent requests for personal information, avoiding opening emails from unknown contacts, and regularly updating software to patch vulnerabilities.

Find out more at score.org.

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