Many small- and medium-sized businesses subscribe to the notion that, because they have fewer assets than their larger counterparts, they are less likely to be targeted by cybercriminals. But this way of thinking can prove disastrous if a smaller business lets down its guard.
Indeed, attacks against larger companies are often more highly publicized than incidents targeting smaller firms, especially in recent months as hacktivist activity has increased. However, just because a businesses isn't likely to capture headlines doesn't necessarily mean its safe.
In a recent interview with data security news provider Infosecurity, Eric Jackson of Arbor Networks asserted that cybercriminals are targeting SMBs more frequently than ever before. Distributed denial of service attacks have become especially prevalent among this group.
Recognizing that smaller businesses typically have weaker defenses than larger companies, cybercriminals are seizing the opportunity to exploit these vulnerabilities to steal everything from sensitive data to credit card numbers to company secrets.
"Today, the drivers [of DDoS attacks] are monetary, where attackers are gaining money through means of extortion and brand damage … That is happening a lot more," Jackson told the news provider.
According to figures published earlier this year by research firm Javelin, cyber attacks suffered by SMBs reached new levels in 2010, with losses extending from fraud totaling more than $8 billion. Of that, financial institutions absorbed approximately $5.4 billion, while the SMBs themselves footed the bill for $2.6 billion.
Larger institutions can often absorb these levels of damages and live to fight another day. For many smaller businesses, however, fate is not so kind, as many SMBs never recover from a significant data loss incident.
Therefore, it is imperative that SMBs take the necessary precautions to minimize the damages of data loss. DDoS protection is key, whether an SMB handles its security solutions on premise or through a third-party provider. Additionally, tools such as encryption and antivirus software can further protect against these threats.