Hacking is Not Personal: Why the Smallest Businesses are Still at Risk

Small Business, Hacking Prevention

There are many reasons that a small business will get hacked, but it is often not because that business was targeted specifically. Many people believe hacking happens by a sophisticated group of criminals that strike a predetermined target with tactical precision, and because of this image, some may think their small business is too small to be targeted. However, for a vast majority of cybercrimes, this is simply not the case. Cybercriminals will cast a wide net for their attack campaigns, and a threat group could steal your information without even knowing your business’ name. Hacking is not personal, and here are a few reasons why your small business could be attacked.

Hacking & Bundling Data

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Stealing information from one small business won’t make cybercriminals much money, but if they manage to steal data from a high volume of companies, then they could bundle that data and sell it on the dark web to other hackers that are looking for businesses with weak cybersecurity. The email addresses, passwords, and various personally identifiable information (PII) stolen from a business could lead to larger attacks such as identity theft or setting up a botnet. This makes indiscriminate targeting an appealing option for hackers, and your business could be targeted just to add a few dollars to the total payout of an entire attack campaign.

Caught in a Phishing Net

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A small or medium business is also at risk of an employee falling for a phishing attack. Some phishing campaigns send emails to hundreds of thousands of inboxes listed in a data set bought on the dark web, and malicious actors don’t always comb through that list for targets. They just send out emails until someone replies. This means that if an employee enters their credentials into a malicious website provided by a phishing email, that data can be harvested without the malicious actors knowing anything about you or your business.

Collateral Damage

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A smaller business that contracts with a larger, enterprise level company can become a hacking victim because malicious actors need a steppingstone to their actual target. Email addresses or information related to your business can come up as that threat group plans their attack on a high value target, and they will send low effort attacks in order to secure more information or potentially find access to another business’ network. Sometimes a loose association with a different target could get your business wrapped up in a series of attacks that have little to do with you, and a successful hacking attempt may cause you to be collateral damage along the way.

Summary

Because of the indiscriminate nature of many hacking attempts, small and medium businesses should not rely on their obscurity to protect them. Hacking is not personal, and you could be hit hard by people that didn’t directly target you. The best defense for these kinds of attacks is proper employee training and a robust cybersecurity environment that does not leave you as a low hanging fruit for malicious actors. Our team of security specialists here at Robinett Consulting are always ready to provide you with the tools and IT consulting you need to create a secure network to work and grow in, and you can book a meeting with us now to get the advice you need!