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Small Business: The New Black In Cybercrime Targets

Small Business: The New Black In Cybercrime Targets
Small Business: The New Black In Cybercrime Targets 

By Tim Wilson
March 19, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Visa Security Summit 2009 -- Hacking banks and large 
businesses? That's sooo 2008.

Hackers and computer criminals this year are taking a new aim -- 
directly at small and midsize businesses, according to experts who spoke 
here today at Visa's annual security event. The consensus: Smaller 
businesses offer a much more attractive target than larger enterprises 
that have steeled themselves with years of security spending and 
compliance efforts.

"As the security becomes better at large companies, the small business 
begins to look more and more enticing to computer criminals," said 
Charles Matthews, president of the International Council for Small 
Business, in a panel presentation here. "It's the path of least 

Matthews quoted industry research that states small businesses are far 
less prepared to defend themselves against cyberattack. "Nearly 
one-fifth of small businesses don't even use antivirus software," he 
said. "Sixty percent don't use any encryption on their wireless links. 
Two-thirds of small businesses don't have a security plan in place. 
These numbers are both surprising and disturbing."

And many small businesses still don't know they are targets, according 
to Chris Gray, director of innovation policy at the Canadian Chamber of 
Commerce and another member of the panel. "According to a brief survey 
we conducted, about two-thirds of small and medium-sized businesses 
believe that large companies are the main target for cybercrime," he 
reported. "Yet 85 percent of the fraud we see in business occurs in 
small and medium-sized businesses."


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