Cyber attacks will be one of the biggest threats faced by British businesses in 2023 and beyond.
We recently published a guide to the common cyber-attacks and threats you should look out for in 2023. We also have a short guide to the various different types of cyber-attacks, including malware, phishing, ransomware, and more.
In this post, we’ll discuss the sort of industries and companies that are most at risk of cyber-attacks, while exploring some steps you should take to keep your business secure.
What Sort of Businesses Do Cybercriminals Target?
The main thing you must understand is this: Cybercriminals don’t target businesses based on how valuable they are. Instead, they target businesses based on how vulnerable they are.
Businesses in certain industries seem to fall victim to more cyber-attacks than others. The most targeted industries include:
- Energy and utility companies
- Educational institutions
- Financial services
- Government agencies
- Healthcare providers
But regardless of the industry or sector, cybercriminals seem to target small businesses over large businesses.
One 2019 study estimated that 43% of all global cyber-attacks were targeted at small businesses. In 2022, BIBA estimated that 96% of all cyber-attacks are directed at SMEs.
So the risk for small and medium-sized businesses is significant, and it only seems to be getting worse.
Why Do Cybercriminals Target Small Businesses?
Large businesses have dedicated teams to implement and enforce rigorous cyber security systems. They’ll also have clear cyber breach response policies, ensuring that in the event of a cyber-attack, the problem can be spotted, addressed and resolved before it becomes an issue.
Small businesses are less likely to have any of these systems in place. So for cybercriminals, small businesses are low hanging fruit.
But not only can small businesses be much easier to infiltrate, they can also act as a gateway to larger businesses. Many small businesses have IT systems that are linked to larger partner businesses. So if a cybercriminal can breach the smaller business, they may in turn be able to infiltrate the larger business.
What Sort of Cyber-Attacks Should Small Businesses Look Out For?
Cybercriminals are most likely to target small businesses with a phishing attack.
This involves sending a message that appears to come from an official channel, such as a bank, a supplier, or even a manager. The message will request certain sensitive information, such as a password, or financial details.
This could lead directly to fraud, or it might leave the business vulnerable to a ransomware attack. This means the cybercriminal will remotely lock your business’s computers, and keep them locked until you send them a ransom payment. If you don’t pay, you’ll either lose access to your data, or the criminal will make your data public.
Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to phishing and ransomware attacks. First, they’re less likely to have dedicated cybersecurity teams in place who can brief staff on the risks, and train them to spot inauthentic emails. But on top of this, if hit by a ransomware attack, many small businesses might feel like they have nowhere to turn. So they might feel like they have no choice but to pay the ransom.
So for cybercriminals, small businesses can be much easier to infiltrate. And once infiltrated, they can be much more likely to comply with the cybercriminal’s demands.
How Can I Protect My Small Business Against Cyber-Attacks?
Read our guide to the different types of cyber-attacks for tips on how to combat each risk. Yet cybercriminals are getting smarter all the time. So even if you and your team are supremely vigilant, you may still fall victim to a cyber-attack.
Prevention is better than a cure. But as all businesses are vulnerable to cyber-attacks, it’s vital that you have the right cover in place to help you respond to any cyber breaches.
You Need Dedicated Cyber Insurance
Your business needs dedicated cyber insurance. Don’t assume that your standard business insurance will cover you for a cyber breach. With specialist cyber insurance cover, you’ll have the support of cyber security experts who’ll help you effectively respond to a cyber-attack, which can make it more likely that you’ll recover your systems, your data, your integrity, and your reputation.
If you have any questions about business insurance, or if you want to discuss your cyber security risks, we have a team of experts on hand to help. Call us on 0208 290 9080 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.