Why Small Business Should Be Concerned About Equifax Data Breach

Date: October 04, 2017

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Small businesses are growing increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks. Watch out for these emerging cybersecurity trends.

It seems that news surrounding the Equifax breach hasn’t slowed, leaving small business owners with cause for alarm. This week, Equifax announced that the initial number of American consumers whose personal information was stolen by hackers—143 million—is no longer accurate. After an investigation into the breach, findings revealed that an added 2.5 million victims might have been affected, according to USA Today

Equifax’s now former CEO, Richard Smith, addressed Congress this week in a testimony to the House Energy and Commerce Committee. With national attention on data security, it’s evident that hackers don’t discriminate in targeting companies—big or small—and that most business owners have security vulnerabilities that must be addressed.

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According to Verizon’s 2017 Data Breach Investigations Report, businesses with fewer than 1,000 employees make up 61 percent of data breach victims. Another survey conducted by MetLife and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce found that nearly 60 percent of small business owners reported concerns about cybersecurity threats, but about 59 percent of them have no contingency plan to handle a data breach.

Small business owners should be aware of the ways that hackers can target their business in order to prevent future cyberattacks. The 2017 State of Cybersecurity in Small & Medium-sized Businesses found the following trends among small businesses with no more than 1,000 employees:

  • Phishing/social engineering and web-based are the most common types of attacks that small business owners report experiencing.
  • Ransomware attacks are becoming more prevalent among small businesses. In 2017, 52 percent of small and mid-sized business owners reported experiencing ransomware attacks, compared to two percent last year.
  • Passwords and biometrics are crucial to defending your business’ security. But, 59 percent of small and mid-sized business owners said they didn’t know if their employees use strong or unique passwords, or whether they share their passwords with others.
  • Cyber attacks are costing small businesses more, due to damage or theft of assets and infrastructure. The average cost of a cyberattack on a small or mid-sized business is $1,027,053, up from $879,582. Business operation disruption can cost an average of $1,207,965.

Small businesses often don’t have the capacity, time, or resources to address cybersecurity issues. After the Equifax breach, more small businesses have been addressing security vulnerabilities that have been overlooked for quite some time, according to the Denver Post.

It’s important to protect your small business’ data by outlining best cybersecurity practices for your business and ensuring that your employees follow them.

 

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