Many small businesses aren't prepared for cyber attacks

9NEWS at 6 p.m. 11/12/15.

KUSA - The majority of small businesses are not prepared to combat cyber thieves, according to a new survey conducted by Nationwide insurance.

In fact, eight out of 10 small businesses do not have a secure plan in place, which makes them vulnerable to cyber thieves, according to the Denver Business Journal. 9NEWS Cyber Security Expert John Sileo said a lot of small businesses don't believe they are at as much risk as larger corporations.

"I'm not that surprised that small businesses, 80 percent are unprepared. Frankly, 80 percent of large corporations are unprepared. I go around spending my time seeing these companies who have not done what they need to do, they get hit, suddenly they pay attention, but it's many millions of dollars later," Sileo said. "One of the problems here is that small businesses don't think they're at as much risk as the larger corporations, they're actually at more risk. There's more data breach. There's about 60 percent of all breach happens in small businesses, so it's not just a corporate problem."

The majority of small business are attacked through phishing schemes, when an email with a corrupt link is sent to employees. If someone accidentally clicks on the link, cyber thieves will have access to a lot of information, ranging from the company's data, to log-in credentials, and employee information.

"I think one of the biggest things a small business can do is to have something called an external security audit. You have an IT security firm come in and take a look at the business and where they're vulnerable. It's different for every single business, based on their profile. So having an expert come in and take a look at that makes a huge difference," Sileo said.

Sileo said many cyber thieves take advantage of the holiday season.

"They take advantage of a couple of things. Number one, we're busy, we're distracted, we're also kind of in a happy mood, we're thinking in terms of good things, not bad, and they take advantage of that and the fact that we're spending far more during this holiday season," Sileo said. "The recommendations for people shopping who are shopping, at any business, online or otherwise, monitor your credit card accounts. Make sure that nothing is out of the ordinary. And even after the credit card season, take a look back and make sure all of the purchases were legitimate."

(© 2015 KUSA)



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