U.S. Chief Intelligence Officer Declares Cybercrime Top Threat—KnowBe4 Says Small & Medium Enterprises are at Even Greater RiskMay 6, 2013 No Comments
(Tampa Bay, FL) May 6, 2013—According to National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, cybercrime has now overtaken terrorism as the number one threat to United States security. This assessment from America’s most senior intelligence leaders noted that the rapid pace of new technological developments makes it difficult for security experts to keep up with hackers and new forms of malware (1). Internet security awareness training firm, KnowBe4 (www.knowbe4.com) , has continuously spoken out about the rise of cybercrime in the U.S., warning small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to effectively arm themselves against cyberattacks before it’s too late. KnowBe4 CEO Stu Sjouwerman detailed the effects of cybercrime in his book, Cyberheist (http://www.knowbe4.com/about-us/cyberheist/): The Biggest Financial Threat Facing American Businesses Since the Meltdown of 2008, and urges businesses to take this security threat seriously.
Sjouwerman believes that many SMEs underestimate their susceptibility to Internet security breaches, because large enterprises are often the ones to make headlines. However, he warns, cybercriminals will target any company that doesn’t have appropriate safeguards in place. And for SMEs, that seems to be the majority.
A recent survey found that 83% of SMEs do not have a cybersecurity plan in place, even though they are relying more and more on technology such as cloud services and social media to conduct business (2). Because smaller businesses typically lack the funds to employ steep security measures, they are often the first target of internet hackers. The damage done by just one security breach can bring an SME to the brink of financial ruin; nearly 60% of small businesses that are hit by cyberattacks close within six months of the problem, according to a 2011 report by Business Insider.
“Many small businesses are more worried about the time, money and productivity needed to implement stronger security measures than they are about the more tangible outcomes of security breaches,” commented Sjouwerman. “Loss of customers and business partners, as well as damage to reputation, are all possible results of a security breach, and businesses would do well to keep that in mind.”
With even the government now on high alert, Sjouwerman says SMEs are more vulnerable than ever. Cybercriminals have found a new profitable racket in SMEs, and the result is emptied bank accounts, exposed customer databases and/or stolen intellectual property. Cybercriminals succeed in their efforts by using several tactics, such as:
● Phishing, or the act of attempting to acquire information such as usernames, passwords, credit card details and sometimes money, by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an email or phone call;
● Botnets, networks of software robots, or bots, that automatically spread malware.
Despite the prevalence of cybercrime as a severe security risk, renowned security expert Bruce Schneier has previously stated that security training is ineffective and a waste of time. Sjouwerman lambasted Schneier’s comments and called his assessments “foolhardy and a liability.” Sjouwerman insists that people should do everything they can to protect themselves, as Internet security training is proven to lower incidents of cybercrime (3).
Sjouwerman continues to state that Schneier’s comments could give Americans a false sense of security and could fuel the growth of cyberattacks. KnowBe4 says that the best defense to cybercrime is to be proactive—Americans must stop threats by familiarizing themselves with the tools that cybercriminals apply.
“Cybercrime has become sophisticated, and the best mode of defense is arming oneself with the best tools,” commented Sjouwerman. Security training is needed so that these small and medium-sized businesses are not also in danger from these cybercriminals.”
KnowBe4 invites SMEs to take advantage of a free phishing security test (http://www.knowbe4.com/phishing-security-test/), which will reveal how many employees are currently Phish-prone™, or susceptible to phishing attempts. The company also offers an array of free cybercrime education resources (http://www.knowbe4.com/resources/) on its website.
For more information on how KnowBe4 can protect businesses against cybercrime, visit http://www.knowbe4.com.
About Stu Sjouwerman and KnowBe4:
Stu Sjouwerman (http://www.knowbe4.com/about-us/) is the founder and CEO of KnowBe4, LLC, which provides web-based Internet Security Awareness Training (ISAT) to small and medium-sized enterprises. A data security expert with more than 30 years in the IT industry, Sjouwerman was the co-founder of Inc. 500 company Sunbelt Software, an award-winning anti-malware software company that he and his partner sold to GFI Software in 2010. Realizing that the human element of security was being seriously neglected, Sjouwerman decided to help entrepreneurs tackle cybercrime tactics through advanced security awareness training (http://www.knowbe4.com/resources/isat-trailer/). He and his colleagues work with companies in many different industries, including highly-regulated fields such as healthcare, finance and insurance. Sjouwerman is the author of four books, with his latest being Cyberheist: The Biggest Financial Threat Facing American Businesses Since the Meltdown of 2008.SECURITY