By Marco La Vecchia, VP Channel Sales, AVG Technologies
The threat landscape has seldom been more risky for small businesses than it is today. Cyber criminals have figured out that most small businesses are holding extremely valuable customer and financial data. They also know that most small businesses are less well equipped to deal with attacks than larger enterprises.
Cyber criminals are constantly inventing new ways to breach small company defenses, often looking for data that might directly or indirectly bring them financial gain. For example, last week hackers managed to access the database of a Domino’s Pizza regional franchise in Europe. They downloaded the personal data of thousands of customers before demanding a ransom for its return. New variants of malware such as Gameover Zeus and CryptoLocker have also been making the rounds. Distributed as part of indiscriminate phishing attacks, there have been numerous cases where small businesses have fallen victim and their systems encrypted. The criminals then offered them a decryption key in exchange for a ransom.
Such ransom attacks are just one threat vector. Another insidious trend is advanced persistent threats (APT), which is malware, usually spread by spam email that is designed to run undetected in the network but can be activated at any time by the sender. And following last year’s PRISM scandal, data privacy is also a major cause for concern. Privacy for company confidential information is something that customers have the right to expect. Here we’re dealing with safety in its widest sense — covering all aspects of company data, whether it’s stored, in the network, or on the move. Small businesses and their reseller partners must take steps to protect themselves/their customers against data loss and take privacy measures to prevent data breaches. A 2013 Ponemon Institute survey revealed that 55 percent of U.S. small businesses suffered a data breach, and 53 percent of those businesses incurred multiple breaches.
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