“Pick on someone your own size.” may just be the one and only thing cybercriminals agreed to. Increasingly, many smaller companies are now being targeted in order to gain information of their financial information, intellectual property, website and other competitive data that could be used to gain profits. Smaller companies, as cybercriminals are aware of, have business relationships with multiple different companies, including large businesses.
By attacking smaller subcontractors, cybercriminals would have access to small amounts of information from many different companies. The theft of information which includes trade secrets, financial information and intellectual property can easily be sold to competitors or used as a threat to a company. According to Symantec, there was a 72 percent increase in targeted attacks on small businesses last year. The majority of the segments being targeted were companies with fewer than 250 employees.
During March, Hackmageddon reported that hacktivism and cyber crime are the largest motivations behind cyber attacks with 50 percent and 40 percent, respectively (see Hactivists on The Rise Compared To Cyber Criminals for security recommendations to prevent hactivism and cyber crime).
It is also important to notice the growing presence of cyber espionage as the primary reason for cyber attacks.
Liam O Murchu, manager of security response at California-based Symantec agreed: “We’re seeing a lot of what we believe is corporate espionage or espionage of some sort of other.”
The main reason cybercriminals are targeting smaller companies are because a larger company means a larger budget for securing their networks. As a smaller company, having full control of your network should be your main priority for security.
A recommended tool to use is AccessPatrol, which allows for protection from damaging malware to secure an organization’s network. Features included are preventing data theft and reducing system infections and this software is free to try.
Many cyber criminals target employees, so it is increasingly important for a company to monitor all internet access, downloads and emails with precautions. Last month, Microsoft announced that XP support was to end in April 2014, which means that Windows XP users will be at increasingly at risk from cyber attacks. In order to ensure appropriate Internet control and download restrictions, safe and reliable software must be used.
BrowseControl allows for internet access control, URL category filtering, and the ability to set restrictions to downloads, emails and other programs and chats. The free trial is also available to download, and is recommended for any company to prevent harmful malware and future cyber attacks.
The majority of businesses are smaller companies, and Microsoft Windows has the largest market share of operating systems used by companies. Myself, like many of you, will be familiar with these two groups and should be aware of all security options. Following these recommendations would allow you and your organization with enhanced security that will build a more secure and productive workplace.
By Anthony Trinh