This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

Small Businesses Under-Estimating Cyber Threats

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Small businesses have massively underestimated the threat posed by cybersecurity, according to research released on Monday by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and Symantec (SYMC - Get Report).

The study, which surveyed 1,015 U.S. businesses with less than 250 employees, revealed a glaring disconnect between cybersecurity perception and reality at small- to medium-sized businesses, or SMBs. While more than 77% of respondents said that their company was safe from the likes of hackers, viruses and malware, a massive 83% have no formal cybersecurity plan in place.

The research, released as part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month, also revealed that 66% of SMBs are not concerned about cyber threats. Experts, however, warn that cybercriminals could use small businesses as a "stepping stone" from which to launch attacks.

"SMBs have to realize that data is the coin of the realm in cybercrime," said Michael Kaiser, executive director of the NCSA, in an interview with TheStreet, pointing to the likes of customer and employee data. "Cybercriminals may use SMBs to get to somebody else."

Criminals, for example, could use an SMB's client contact list in a phishing attack, a form of online scam typically launched via email.

Social media is also a popular launch pad for criminals' phishing attacks; although the research found that 70% of SMBs do not have policies for employee social media use.

"Cybercriminals know that small businesses are less defended than large businesses," noted Kaiser. "Small businesses could appear as a very easy entry point for a lot of cyber criminals."

"In many cases, small businesses don't think that they are going to be attacked as much as a large organization," added Laura Garcia-Manrique, vice president of SMB Customer Experience at Symantec. But that's not the case. A small business, she added, is four times more likely to suffer a general malware attack than a large organization.

The NCSA urged SMBs to look at where their information is being stored and used, and protect those areas. It also reminded small businesses to enforce strong password policies, encrypt confidential information, educate employees about cybersecurity and stay up to date with the latest viruses and worms.

1 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Try it NOW
Only $9.95
Try it NOW
14-Days Free
Try it NOW

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Options Profits

Our options trading pros provide over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • Actionable options commentary and news
  • Real-time trading community
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
HPQ $31.49 0.00%
SNE $26.78 0.00%
SYMC $23.36 0.00%
AAPL $123.25 0.00%
FB $83.30 0.00%


DOW 17,712.66 +34.43 0.19%
S&P 500 2,061.02 +4.87 0.24%
NASDAQ 4,891.2190 +27.8570 0.57%

Partners Compare Online Brokers

Free Reports

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs