What do Cyber Breaches Cost SMBs?

What do Cyber Breaches Cost SMBs?

Report Cyber was introduced on July 1, 2019, to enable Australian SMBs to report cyber issues (it replaced ACORN – Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network). If you thought you would never use Report Cyber, have a look at the statistics for SMBs in the first quarter of its operations.
  • Total cases reported – 13,672 which means 1 case every 10 minutes.
  • Reported financial loss per day – $890,000
  • Financial loss per day (average) – $6,000
  • Estimated annual losses – $328 million

The future of business is digital. With the rising cyberattacks events not having strong cybersecurity can cost your business money, time and even your whole business.

Why are SMBs vulnerable to cyberattacks?

The misconception that SMBs won’t be targeted

In a survey conducted by ACSC, 62 per cent of small and midsized businesses have experienced a cybersecurity incident. Almost half of SMBs that responded spent less than $500 on cybersecurity per year.

Small businesses assume that chances of being attacked are lower than that of larger businesses, thereby making them easy targets. Hackers are well aware that small businesses lack the resources, experience, or policies to defend them.
In reality, cybercriminals do not discriminate business by size and have no priority targets. They attack any vulnerable security system. In reality, cybercriminals do not discriminate business by size and have no priority targets. They attack any vulnerable security system. SMBs are as vulnerable to cyberattacks as any other business.
Cyber Criminals Are Always at Work
Are SMBs more vulnerable to cyberattacks? | Computing Australia
The Australian Cyber Security Centre reports that they receive one cybercrime report every ten minutes from individuals and small and medium businesses. This highlights the fact that cybercriminals are always in the process of trying to find vulnerabilities to attack, and most of these are motivated by money. Two factors make SMBs more vulnerable to cyberattacks –
  • Larger businesses have implemented enhanced security systems, pushing hackers to look for easier targets.
  • Small and midsize businesses are more in number and provide a large market for exploitation.
Small and midsize businesses need to strengthen their internal security rules. They also need to monitor for suspicious internet activities continuously and should be prepared to act in case of an attack.
SMB’s have the data that hackers require
According to the ACCC’s Targeting Scams in 2019, business email compromise scams caused the highest losses across all scam types costing businesses $132 million. It was also found that small businesses reported more email scams than larger businesses. The average loss was $11,000, but some businesses even lost up to $200,000.
SMB’s have customer and staff data, making them primary targets. Hackers usually target data from online banking credentials to social security numbers. Since most attackers are motivated by cash, business banking, and other sensitive information need to be protected properly.
Lack of data protection rules
A small business has confidential information like new products to be launched, new ad campaigns that are to be released. Ransomware looks for vulnerable devices and encrypts these confidential data to extract a ransom from them to get it back. So, it is misleading for SMB’s to believe that they do not need to comply with data protection regulations. A robust cybersecurity measure is essential to keep this information safe from cybercriminals.

Types of Cyber Breach risks for SMBs

Cyber risks: Risks that contain external threats, including attacks that use malware.

Infrastructure risks: Risks that emerge due to uncertainty about securing technologies like cloud services, IoT devices and server environments.

Human resource risks: Risks that arise due to a lack of trained IT security personnel or because of a lack of staff cybersecurity awareness training.

Data Risks: Risks that contain the loss of critical and confidential data.

Operational risks: Risks that involve operational disruption, financial damage, and loss of intellectual property which are caused by the flaws in security infrastructure.

What are some common cybersecurity threats?

Are SMBs more vulnerable to cyberattacks? | Computing Australia
Email and phishing scams: The attacker sends email and text messages disguised as a trustworthy entity in an attempt to acquire sensitive information.
Passwords: Attackers get access to passwords by finding unencrypted passwords or by using social engineering.
Man-in-the-middle: Attackers insert themselves into a two-party transaction and steal data.

What’s the Impact of a cyberattack on SMB?

We saw how SMBs are vulnerable to cyberattacks. The impact of a cyberattack can be especially destructive for small and midsize businesses. An attack can disrupt the operations of the entire organisation. It can cause significant downtime leading to loss of productivity and opportunities. A cybersecurity incident can even put a small organisation out of business.
Other consequences include:
  • Financial losses from stolen banking information
  • Financial losses from disruption of business operations
  • High costs to clean your network of threats
  • Damage to your reputation

How can SMBs secure themselves against cyber breaches?

Install a good antivirus software
While this may seem very basic, many business owners install antivirus software and then forget about it. As cyber-threats evolve, antivirus software must also be constantly renewed and updates installed to remain secured. Depending on the needs of your business, you should install an antivirus software that covers a wide range of security functions.
Employee training is essential

More than 70% of cyber incidents happen due to human error. Employees are the first target of cybercriminals looking to trespass into an organisation’s systems. Regular cybertraining for employees goes a long way in minimising cyber breaches.

Follow a policy for devices

Most SMBs have employees bring in their own devices to work. Executives too use their devices for work and personal purposes. As much as possible, use different devices for work and personal purposes. If personal devices are used, then there should be stringent policies on implementing cyber-security measures for the devices.

Implement multi-factor authentication (MFA)

MFA adds an extra layer of security and helps to protect your data, even if your login credentials are compromised. MFA like SMS or email tokens, Biometric recognition, hardware tokens help you and your employees login to organisational systems more securely.

Keep your systems and software updated
Are SMBs more vulnerable to cyberattacks? | Computing Australia
Ensure that all the systems and software are regularly updated. All patch updates must be installed as and when they are released for all software including operating systems and antivirus software.
Follow good password hygiene
Following password best practices should be made mandatory throughout the organisation. Passwords should be unique for every device or system. Encourage employees to use random passwords containing alphanumeric, symbols and special characters.
Backup data regularly
Regular data backup helps you get your systems and operations back on feet faster in the event of a ransomware attack. Using a cloud backup in addition to onsite backup provides additional security.
Conduct security audits and implement disaster recovery plans
Conduct regular audits to test your systems for any vulnerabilities. Have a disaster recovery plan in place for cyber breaches. Cybersecurity must be given equal importance as other business priorities. Cybersecurity is a skill-intensive area, and needs a good amount of experience to function effectively. It is advisable to employ external and trusted consultants.
Small and medium businesses may have pressing demands for budget allocation, and IT security may take a backseat. SMBs are vulnerable to cyberattacks and a cyber-breach has the potential to do long-lasting damage to your business. It is therefore necessary to prioritise cybersecurity along with other business functions.
For over 20 years, Computing Australia cyber experts have been helping clients secure their systems and data, and put in place a comprehensive cybersecurity plan. To know how you can use this experience to secure your business, contact us or email at cybersecurity@computingaustralia.group. Our cybersecurity experts in Perth are 24/7 ready to assist you.

Computing Australia is a member of The Computing Australia Group of Companies.

Jargon Buster

Ransomware –a malware that blocks access to a system and demands a ransom to free access again. The infection usually happens through deceptive links in websites, emails or messaging.

System vulnerability – in IT security, it means weaknesses or flaws in system security that can be exploited by cybercriminals to gain unauthorised access to an organisation’s systems and data.

Cybersecurity breach – an incident that results in a cybercriminal accessing data without authorisation.