Small and Medium Businesses Are Cybercriminal Targets. Here's What You Can Do About It

Most modern-day businesses rely on technological advancements to streamline daily operations. Statistics show that  94% of all enterprises  have transitioned to cloud technology. While advanced programs yield several advantages, SMBs should understand that they come with several risks as well.

Cybersecurity risks do not discriminate. Whether you spearhead a global brand or a local startup, you will face some form of threat. Reports show that  even small-scale businesses in the Philippines  struggle with web security. Given these conditions, any entrepreneur that carries personally identifiable information (PII) should bolster their online security systems.

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What is Cybersecurity?

Cybersecurity incorporates different technologies designed to prevent various cyber risks, from data breaches to brute force attacks. Attacks could also come in discreet, inconspicuous ways like  fake news. Fortunately, security measures are widely accessible; even SMBs have access to top-notch pen test services.

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However, note that cookie-cutter programs do not exist. Base your cybersecurity plan according to your risk appetite, tolerance, and threshold. Blindly applying online systems without consulting a legitimate cybersecurity assessment service provider will do more harm than good. In the worst case, you might end up with a pricey system that does not suit your venture.

The Philippines is a Top Cybercriminal Target

The Philippines is a developing country with a low GDP per capita. While thousands of local enterprises thrive on a national scale, only a handful make a name for themselves overseas. Despite the country’s lack of economic growth, reports indicate that the Philippines  ranks among the least competitive countries  in Southeast Asia.

Despite the lack of economic growth, Philippine businesses stand as prominent targets for cybercriminals globally. Russian cybersecurity firm claims that the Philippines is one of the  top five most countries prone to internet-borne crimes. Attacks vary from the breaching of PII to the  diversification of fake news.

Despite these statistics,  a longitudinal survey  involving the top executives in the country suggests that local cybersecurity risks are low. Some would even say the cases of compromised online security remain isolated.

With rumors like these, it’s understandable why local SMBs avoid cybersecurity protocols. Furthermore, not many startups have the initial capital to execute even standard tasks like penetration testing. They would focus on business expansion instead.

SMBs should read the risks of forgoing cybersecurity. Global reports indicate that most companies lose  $158 per compromised datum. If we use the numbers mentioned above, a small agency carrying 1,000 client documents could lose $158,000 during a data breach. This amount exceeds the premiums of any insurer.

Common Cyberattacks Small Businesses Face

One reason why cyberattacks are challenging to overcome is they constantly evolve. As a business owner, you have to familiarize yourself with the latest hacking trends and continuously update your site.

This responsibility might seem intimidating, but you can only create a solution if you take the first step: understanding common cybersecurity risks. Reports vary from industry to industry, but you can generally expect most attacks to involve the following:

Unauthorized Hacking

The word “hacker” has a negative connotation attached to it. Tech newbies assume that all hackers override systems and databases with malicious intent. This idea couldn’t stray further from the truth.

Hackers classify into three different categories:  white hat hackers, gray hat hackers, and black hat hackers. The first ones include professionals with legal permission to exploit systems and identify insecurities. More simply put: they’re the good guys you hire to fix your site.

On the other hand, black hat hackers are criminals. They shut down and compromise systems for underlying criminal intentions. SMBs should strive to combat them.

Lastly, gray hat hackers fall in the middle. These unlicensed professionals look for sites to compromise but do not have ill motives. After finding compromised sites, gray hat hackers would inform the site owners so that they can perform the necessary adjustments.

An excellent example would be the  2019 Cebu Pacific GetGo server. After the Filipino hackers from Pinoy LulzSec breached the platform, they anonymously Tweeted about the incident, thus alarming both Cebu Pacific and National Privacy Commission (NPC).

Data Breaches

Data breaches stand among the most predominant risks in cyberspace. Overseas research even suggests that a  cyberattack occurs every 39 seconds. Local statistics would vary, but they would not make data breaches any less of a risk.

One of the largest data breaches involves the Toyota PII leak scandal in 2019. The Philippine household car brand—with a whopping number of  72+ dealerships across the country—compromised the information of more than 3.1 million customers.

Phishing Scams

Phishing scams are widespread in the commercial and private sectors of the Philippines. Statistics show that there were more than  58,000 victims from the National Capital Region (NCR)  in 2019.

Fortunately, SMBs can prevent the majority of these attacks by staying vigilant. Do not carelessly provide sensitive information over the phone, always verify the person on the other end, and secure all your payment gateway systems.

Solving The Risk of Cybersecurity

Contrary to popular belief, most standard IT networks do not prevent sophisticated cyberattacks. They offer excellent system configuration but provide insufficient cybersecurity.

Many skilled hackers already have the resources to take down basic systems. Even Asia-wide shopping platforms like Lazada have suffered from at least one data breach. It would be unwise for expanding business to continue operating unprotected despite the risks.

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Now, there are multiple ways to bolster your cybersecurity system. Well-funded corporations storing hundreds of thousands of PII could even consider building a team of good hackers. However, many startups have a limited budget.

While cybersecurity does not come cheap, ditch the misconception that all web security services would make SMBs bankrupt. If you need competitively priced, world-class end-to-end protection, reach out to us at Secuna. We are a DICT-certified cybersecurity assessment service provider that provides one-off and ongoing pen testing reports. Whether you need us to audit a school website or agency client database, we have you covered.

Always stay one step ahead of cybercriminals!  Consult our pros at Secuna  today on troubleshooting your site’s weaknesses and vulnerabilities with continuous penetration testing.