Ransomware Rampant in 2020 Among Small Businesses
As if this year didn’t have enough catastrophes, here’s another record-breaker: The risk of cyberattacks in 2020 is higher than it’s ever been, with no sign of slowing.
According to one report, ransomware samples have increased by 72%, vulnerabilities in mobile devices have increased by 50%, and “attacks on critical infrastructure” in businesses run rampant.
In the year where everything bad seems to get worse, it seems fitting for a threat to approach our professional lives. But this isn’t fate: the increased risk is a direct result of COVID-19.
What does a pandemic have to do with cybersecurity?
Increased Malware in 2020
A lot, it turns out.
First, “stay home” mandates have forced many businesses to go virtual. Employees work remotely, retailers switch to e-commerce, and company databases transition to the cloud. Vulnerabilities are inevitable—and hackers are taking advantage of them.
Second, many people use their personal mobile devices for work. Unfortunately, mobile units are rarely secure enough to adequately protect confidential information, resulting in a 50% increase in mobile vulnerabilities. Attackers have even been known to use COVID-19-themed emails to lure people into opening links laden with malware, which then infiltrates the device. The consequences can be fatal to a business.
If you use a laptop, smartphone, or tablet to conduct business, take special precautions to minimize the risks and consequences of a data breach:
- Make it hard for cyber criminals to access your device. A laptop is stolen every 53 seconds. When traveling, use a lock on your suitcase to discourage thieves.
- Avoid untrusted networks. While it’s convenient to tap into public networks, they’re often unsecured. Instead, invest in a mobile WiFi hotspot for your personal use and protect it with a strong password.
- Speaking of passwords, develop a strong one to access your device. Consider using a random password generator. Avoid using the same password for multiple websites and devices.
- Invest in cyber liability insurance. A data breach might result in a failed business, but it doesn’t have to. Partner with a cyber security risk-management company to protect your assets in case of an attack.
Target: Small Businesses
The Skybox Security report minces no words: “The focus and capability of attackers is clear: they have the means to impart serious financial and reputational harm on organizations.”
This news is concerning to small-business owners, who rely on technology to manage operations, books, databases, and public relations. According to CNBC, 43% of cyberattacks are aimed at small businesses. And over 50% of all small businesses experienced some sort of data breach in 2018. This number has only grown in 2020.
One might think attackers are more likely to go after a big company, which would have more valuable data and possible points of contact. This is not the case. Big companies have resources to invest in strong security measures, leaving many hackers to pursue smaller companies.
The Impact of Ransomware on a Small Business
The CNBC study reveals the devastating impact of cyberattacks on businesses: On average, an attack costs a company $200,000. It’s no wonder that many small companies who experience breaches are forced to close their doors. They don’t have the resources to buy stolen data back from hackers and build business back up.
Ransom comprises much of this expense: hackers steal or compromise data, forcing companies to purchase it back in order to retain their assets or reputations. Unfortunately, according to the Info Security Group a record number of ransomware victims in 2020 are forced to comply with demands to pay cash.
But the impact of ransomware reaches beyond direct costs. Businesses are forced to suspend operations, making them unable to serve their clients and customers. Legal fees, damage control, and system repair add to the burden.
By the time a company gets the data back—if they are able to—the damage to the business’ finances and reputation may be irreparable.
Cyber Risk Assessment
Hackers aren’t going away. Even as companies implement cutting-edge security, cyber criminals devote their lives to circumventing these measures—and they’re good at it.
Is your business at risk?
To find out, your first step is to assess your risk level with the NOW Insurance free cyber security risk assessment tool. Risk is calculated based on the type of data you store, existing security measures, information technology, and more. If your business is vulnerable, you want to know—and our analytics dashboard keeps you informed with every step.
The Solution: Get Protected with Cyber Liability Insurance
Just as homeowners’ insurance covers the damages of a break-in, cyber liability insurance helps business owners recover after a data breach. Your policy should cover:
- Legal fees
- Public relations expenses
- Identity theft expenses
- Data recovery costs
- System repair costs
- Other expenses
Here are your next steps:
- Learn more about how cyber liability insurance protects your business. Our policies are customizable to all kinds of industries, giving you peace of mind where it matters most. Your unique business needs unique protection.
- Get a no-obligation instant quote with our easy online cyber liability application.
- Create a small business cyber security plan.
As a small-business owner, you can’t afford not to invest in cyber security risk management. You’ve devoted your life to pursuing your dream. Keep that dream alive by protecting your assets.
Don’t let cyber criminals win.