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Hacker attacks against small businesses on the rise

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More than a third of targeted cyberattacks aimed at firms with fewer than 250 employees, report finds

Hackers are taking greater aim at small businesses, with more than a third -- 36 per cent -- of targeted cyberattacks directed at companies with fewer than 250 employees in the first six months of the year, a new report finds.

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Moreover, that figure was double the 18 per cent at the end of last year, according to the mid-year Intelligence Report from security software provider Symantec Corp., as reported in PC World and on the American Express Open Forum.

Firms in the defence industry were the top targets, followed by those in the chemical, pharmaceutical and manufacturing industries, the report found.

The reports said that small businesses are the increasing focus of cybercriminals because they are often teamed up with larger firms on major contracts. But the smaller companies are considered the "weakest link" in the security chain because they often lack the money, resources and full-time IT departments to boost their defences.

"There appears to be a direct correlation between the rise in attacks against smaller businesses and a drop in attacks against larger ones. It almost seems attackers are diverting their resources directly from the one group to the other," said Paul Wood, cyber security intelligence manager at Symantec, in a release.

"It may be that your company is not the primary target, but an attacker may use your organization as a stepping stone to attack another company. You do not want your business to be the weakest link in the supply chain."

The reports noted that many small businesses simply do not take the most basic precautions, such as making sure all software is up to date and has been patched.

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From imaging technology to a dust-removal tool, Inc. tells of the contributions of five U.S. small businesses that are helping to make history, and money, from the mission.


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