Small Businesses are big opportunities for cyber attacks

May 8, 2015 0 comments

Small businesses often have fewer resources to invest in security, and many are still not adopting simple and basic best practices such as blocking executable files and screensaver email attachments. This opens up big avenues for cybercriminals, and puts businesses and their partners at higher risk. Small businesses were the target of a third (34%) of all targeted cyber attacks in 2014 as per a report from Symantec. These businesses also received twice as many phishing and virus-bearing mails compared to large corporations. Some of the other findings of the report are:

Businesses Dealing With Critical Infrastructure On The Cybercriminals’ Radar

There is an increase in the number of cyber attacks on key sectors such as financial services (17.1 percent; up from 11.1 percent in 2013), transportation and communications (4.4%; up from .8% in 2013). Of these, the transportation, communications, electricity and gas industry saw a five time increase in the targeted attacks. Additionally, sectors like mining, which includes oil and gas exploration, were preferred by attackers of all types as they received the highest number of phishing mails and second highest number of virus-bearing emails in 2014.

Bots Infections Concentrated In Metros

Last year, India moved up five places to become the 16th most bot infected country worldwide. However, despite higher security awareness; the Indian metros reported close to 65 percent of infections across cities like Mumbai, Bangalore, Cochin, Hyderabad, Pune and Delhi. Countries that have a high number of bot infected machines are often a source for Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks that attempt to make an online service unavailable by overwhelming it with traffic from multiple sources. It was reported that India was the top source globally for ‘originating DDoS traffic.’

Digital Extortion On The Rise

Email remains a significant attack vector for cybercriminals, but they continue to experiment with new attack methods across mobile devices and social networks to reach more people, with less effort. India’s growing social media population proved to be a ready base for cybercriminals last year, making it the second most targeted country in the world for social media scams.

While social media scams can provide cybercriminals with quick cash, some rely on lucrative and aggressive attack methods like ransomware. Ransomware rose globally by 113% last year. India reported the third highest ransomware in Asia, with an average of more than seven attacks every hour. Instead of pretending to be law enforcement seeking a fine for stolen content, as we have seen with traditional ransomware, the more vicious crypto-ransomware attack style holds a victim’s files, photos and other digital content hostage without masking the attacker’s intention. In India, a staggering 8% of all ransomware were crypto-ransomware- posing a threat to consumers and enterprises alike.

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