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News

Small business susceptibility to cyber crime

MXSweep : 25 February, 2009  (Technical Article)
More stringent e-mail security could lead to a reduction in the susceptibility of the UK's small business community to financial loss as a result of cyber crime
The UK's federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has called for more action to tackle online crime as its recent survey revealed startling facts regarding the susceptibility of small businesses to online crime and fraud.

The survey revealed that more than half (54 per cent) of businesses reported being a victim of crime in the last twelve months - 37 per cent having problems with phishing emails, 15 per cent falling victim to card not present fraud and another 15 per cent falling foul of IT problems caused by viruses and hackers. In monetary terms most fraud, where it has a financial impact, costs small businesses between £500 and £5,000, while the average cost across the sector is £768 a year.

MXSweep, a security expert specialising in email security, argues that unless something is done to address the root causes of this problem the costs for SMEs will continue to rise. Edward Grant, managing director at MXSweep, believes that the majority of these problems are still stemming from a lax approach to email security issues, "Just because it's larger businesses that hit the headlines when cyber attacks hit, smaller companies must be aware that threats like spam and phishing are an ever increasing problem. While there was a brief decline in spam following the closure of the McColo data centre at the end of 2008, the problem has not gone away; it's critical that companies of all sizes understand the constant threat."

Grant continued "SMEs cannot afford to be blasé about the damage threats like these can do to their business and should be ensuring that they are fully prepared to deal with spam, viruses, denial of service, harvest directory and other forms of email-borne attack. Technology like real time email security is essential, but must not interfere with or disrupt access to email. This is often not as easy as it sounds, but when the consequences include immense frustration, lost productivity, damaged reputations and IT department overload it is vital that organisations get the balance right. While SMEs must do everything they can to protect themselves, the authorities also have a part to play. The success of the November 2008 bust in reducing spam demonstrates how effective the closing of one criminal hosting centre can be at eliminating email-borne threats."
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