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
"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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