Small businesses are becoming favoured prey of cyber criminals


Small businesses are increasingly becoming the target of cyber criminals, to the extent that they are now the preferred prey, according to a new report.

This is often because SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) are badly prepared on the security front, with much smaller security budgets than larger firms, yet still represent a juicy target in terms of the potential gains on offer – particularly if, relatively speaking, it doesn't take too much time or effort to crack their defences.

The new Government Security Breaches Survey showed that 74%, or three-quarters of small firms reported some form of security breach during 2015. That's a big increase on previous years.

Drastic change

Toni Allen, UK Head of Client Propositions at the British Standards Institute told the Guardian: "SMEs have not historically been the target of cyber crime, but in 2015 something drastically changed."

Another recent survey from Harvey Nash pointed to 36% of UK businesses being hit by at least one security incident last year, so the figure for small businesses being targeted is more than double that.

That's certainly worth bearing in mind when it comes to the next evaluation of your company's security, as is the fact that it's not just financial damage that cyber criminals can inflict if they pull off a successful attack against your business – often, the damage to a firm's reputation can be even more harmful and difficult to recover from.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).