Cybersecurity threats to small businesses are on the rise. All businesses need to understand why cybersecurity is important to success.
- One of the comments I hear most often when I'm teaching cyber security is I'm a small business owner, and I don't even know what I don't know. Can you just give me a checklist to follow? I understand that data security can seem overwhelming if you're not a computer expert. But you are an expert on your business, and knowing what to pay attention to in order to make it successful. Paying attention to cyber security is now something you need to add to your list of concerns. And let me tell you why you should care. The Ponemon Institute is a leader in cyber security research.
Their recent study, sponsored by Keeper Security, the 2017 State of Cybersecurity in Small and Medium-sized Businesses has some information important to your cyber journey. 61% reported they had experienced a cyber attack in the past 12 months, and 54% reported they had experienced a data breach in the past 12 months. There's no denying it now, the threats are real, and your business is a target. Why, because the data and systems you run are valuable to the criminals.
There's a black market similar to our stock markets where data is bought and sold, and values fluctuate based on market conditions. To learn why businesses are a target of hackers, we need to understand the dark web. The dark web is a place where criminals can access websites anonymously, and buy, sell or trade items of value without a trace. To reach the dark web, it's necessary to use special tools. Safari and Chrome won't get you there.
The dark web is where stolen data from businesses like yours is bought and sold. Your business and personal accounts have data that's valuable to criminals. Let's look at what we can shop for on the dark web right now. This underground marketplace price list came from the Symantec 2017 Internet Security Threat Report. Over the years, one of the most common stolen items is credit card data. A single credit card number can be worth five cents to $30, depending on the credit limit.
If the cardholder's name, address, and phone number are added to that credit card number, the value goes up to 20 to $60. Then, add the magnetic strip track and PIN number, and the value goes up even more. The criminals on the dark web are not just in the business of selling data. They also offer services. Criminals can buy malware or computer viruses online, too. Note that this first basic banking Trojan kit comes with support for only $100.
Hiring a hacker to steal passwords costs 25 to $100, and it looks like ransomware is hot this season, with some kits costing $1,800. And criminals are available for under $20 to take down a website with a distributed denial of service attack. The black market follows the same basic economics theory of supply and demand as we see in any other business. As more of one category of information is exposed, the value drops.
Our name, social security number, and date of birth were worth much more than a penny to $1.50, even five years ago, but as more of them are exposed, the value goes down. Does your business have a website, the account information of clients, or documents that would be worth money on the dark web? It would be hard to find any business today that has zero valuable data. The threats to businesses of all sizes can no longer be ignored, and educating yourself is a proactive approach to improving the security of your business.
If I haven't convinced you yet, maybe this headline will. Ransomware shuts down one in five small businesses after it hits. Take action now to improve the security of your business to stay in business.
- Physical security vs. cybersecurity
- Identifying what you have that's valuable to others
- Protecting valuable data and accounts
- Detecting a breach
- Responding to an incident in an efficient manner
- Recovering from a breach
- Technology checklists for small and medium businesses