Business, Technology

Small Businesses Are Facing High Cyber Attack Risks

By Zhiyan Zhong SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC NEWS) — Small and medium businesses are increasingly becoming targets for cyber attacks, but many of them usually don’t realize the risks until they get hacked, Syracuse cyber security experts said.

Most small businesses only seek help from cyber security companies when they notice they potentially have a breach or they are having an incident, said Steve Stasiukonis, president of cyber security company Secure Network.

“Small businesses don’t reach out to us until it’s too late,” Stasiukonis said.


Secure Network breaks into the security systems of their customers’ companies to show how vulnerable they are, Steve Stasiukonis said. © 2016 Zhiyan Zhong

One of the common cyber threats that small companies are facing is phishing. Hackers send out phishing scam messages, which can affect people’s computers when they click on the links. Hackers then can get people’s banking credentials and transfer the money out.

“For commercial businesses, if this happens, the bank has no obligations to get their money back,” Stasiukonis said. “Their money is gone.”

According to a research conducted by Symantec and the National Cyber Security Alliance, 60 percent of hacked small businesses are forced out of business within six months of being attacked.

As small businesses usually don’t have large IT force concentrating on cyber security, they can be breached easily, said Bahram Attaie, information studies professor at Syracuse University.

“Small businesses don’t have something of great value for the attackers,” Attaie said. “But the attackers can put something in those companies’ computers and use their computers to attack others, and it’s a great way for them not to be detected.”

Both Attaie and Stasiukonis said everyone could be a target for hackers. They suggested people should raise their awareness and keep their computers and anti-virus systems up-to-date to avoid cyber attacks.