Small firms Unaware of IT Security Threats
Small businesses are leaving themselves vulnerable to IT security risks because they are not aware of new cyber threats, IT firm Symantec has warned.
A Symantec survey of more than 800 small firms revealed that while most SMEs are aware of common everyday threats such as IT viruses and spam, 67% were unfamiliar with ‘minnowing’ and 65% had not heard of ‘whaling’.
Both threats are forms of ‘phishing’ that target either the bottom end of the organisation (‘minnowing’), or senior management (‘whaling’), for sensitive information that can then be re–sold.
“Small businesses are aware of some of the threats posed in the modern computer era, but they rarely deploy the correct infrastructure to help them cope with new threats,” said Symantec senior vice president John Brigden.
“Antivirus software and firewalls are vital foundations, but aren’t enough on their own to protect a business properly. Without comprehensive protection, small businesses can find themselves at significant risk.”
The Symantec research also revealed that for 31% of small firms, staff errors were the cause of a system crash or information loss. The survey highlighted that 43% of employees in small firms thought that IT security was the sole duty of the IT manager. Dr Guy Bunker, senior scientist at Symantec said;
“Educating staff is very important as part of your IT security policy,”
“The message should be don’t open attachments from strangers, don’t click on lottery links and be careful with the information you give out on social networking sites as cyber criminals often target these to get information,” he added.
Tony Neate, managing director of Get Safe Online, added:
“It’s not always easy for small businesses to think about IT, as they usually have so many other priorities. But 95% rely on IT in some form or other, so it’s vital they are properly protected.”
To download a guide to online security for small firms, visit the Get Safe Online website