Small Business Owners believe they are at less risk from Internet Crime

Webster Consulting would like to credit as the author of this press release

According to a survey sponsored by Visa and the US National Cyber Security Alliance, 85% of small business owners believe that they face less risk of being targeted by scammers and hackers than larger businesses.

The greatest threat is complacency

Despite growing concern from security experts and law enforcement officials that small businesses are actually becoming MORE of a target for high tech criminals, almost half of all small business owners surveyed said that their staff had received NO training in online security issues, with only 25% having received more than three hours training over the last year.

“The greatest threat to a companys cybersecurity is complacency,” said Michael Kaiser, executive director of the NCSA. “We encourage small business owners to take the necessary precautions to protect their customers, employees and their businesses.”

Risk of cybercrime “does not justify the cost of prevention”

Only last month, authorities in the Ukraine arrested five individuals who allegedly stole $70 million from bank accounts in an elaborate scheme targeted at small and medium-sized businesses, yet half of small business owners questioned said that the risk did not justify the cost in time and money required to properly secure their systems against cybercrime.

Only in America?

Its not just small businesses in the US who are increasingly being targeted by scammers. A report issued by the UK Government this month highlighted an estimated £21bn cost to UK businesses from cybercrime. Over £1.3bn of this was direct theft of money from bank accounts and credit cards resulting in part from phishing scams and other social engineering techniques designed to steal login details.

Additionally the report details a £3.1bn per annum loss to consumers resulting from online scams and identity theft. Undeniably, loss of customer data such as credit card details held by businesses contributes to this loss.

Now that ISACA (The Information Systems Audit and Control Commission) have enforced changes last year (6th April 2010) the ICO (Information Commissioners Office) has the power to impose fines of up to £500,000 for having inadequate security that leads to a “deliberate or negligent” loss of personal data. Clearly having hefty fines will focus the minds of small business owners and hopefully result in this data being properly managed.

Soft targets

Lets face it, as a small business you have everything that scammers and hackers are trying to get their hands on. You hold client data (including bank account/credit card/debit card details), employee lists, email accounts and bank accounts and by not training your staff to spot social engineering techniques such as phishing scams or accidental virus infections via email and social networks, or taking the necessary precautions to secure your systems against outside intruders, youre making yourself a soft target.

Education is key

Whilst hardware solutions such as encrypted storage devices and firewalls can help to secure your business data from outside hackers, its vitally important that you train your staff to be aware of the methods used by scammers, spammers and social engineers to trick them into handing over confidential information and consequently exposing your business to financial fraud, industrial espionage and deliberate sabotage. It doesnt have to cost a fortune but could save your business a small one

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