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Increase in Targeted Attacks Against Small Businesses

A recent study and report from Symantec found that targeted attacks against small businesses greatly increased in 2012 as cyberattacks increased by 42 percent overall leading to more data compromises and breaches.

According to Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report 2013, small businesses with 250 employees or less were victims of 31 percent of targeted cyberattacks in 2012 up from 18 percent in 2011. Meanwhile companies with 251 to 2,500 employees were affected with 19 percent of targeted attacks while organizations with more than 2,500 employees saw 50 percent of targeted attacks in 2012. While the largest businesses still see half of all targeted attacks, the percentage targeting smaller businesses has greatly increased in the last year.

These targeted attacks often come via email where fraudsters attempt to dupe the recipients into opening malicious attachments or links. In the past these types of attacks have been windows of opportunity for fraudsters to obtain bank and login credentials to takeover accounts and syphon funds. While larger businesses tend to have more funds to steal, the increase in attacks against smaller companies could be explained by the fact that smaller businesses typically have weaker defense against attacks or that the target is customer data rather than the business’ funds.

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