According to recent research, small businesses are 350% more likely to be the target of cyber attacks based on social engineering. In this article we discuss what makes small businesses such an attractive opportunity for hackers and how the FlashStart small business web filter helps you tackle this issue and grant the safety of your company network.
1. Small businesses are more at risk of cyberattacks than larger companies
In March 2022 Forbes published an article titled “Small Businesses Are More Frequent Targets Of Cyberattacks Than Larger Companies: New Report”. While the title is pretty self-explanatory, the data it reports are at the same time incredibly interesting and worrisome.
The report cited studied millions of emails received by thousands of companies during the twelve months starting with January 2021, making it one of the most recent studies, well into the pandemic period. Its main finding is that, on average, an employee in a Small or Medium Enterprise (SME), which for the scope of the study defines a company with less than 100 employees, is 350% more likely to experience social engineering attacks than an employee in a bigger company.
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1.1 Social engineering attacks
In the realm of cyber security, social engineering refers to the study of the behavior of Internet users in order to enact moves that will convince the user to provide willingly important information, like their username and password for a specific website, app or platform. We discussed social engineering briefly in this article, which deals in depth with password cracking techniques.
In social engineering attacks, the perpetrator first investigates the modus operandi of the victim in order to identify any weak points, which he then exploits as point of entry. Afterwards, the hacker tries to win the victim’s trust and convince him/her to break security protocols and provide the attacker with personal details, such as access credentials to the company network or other services of interest.
Often, phishing emails are used but since the pandemic started and, with it, remote work became the rule rather than the exception, the attacks have become more and more sophisticated.
These attacks come with high costs and can result even deadly for SMEs, which have less resources to tackle them and get back to the pre-attack situation.
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1.2 Why are small businesses so frequently the targets of cyber attacks?
While the number of cyber attacks has spiked since the beginning of the pandemic, and so being the target of an attack is much more probable than it used to be, small businesses are nevertheless more likely to suffer such an attack. Why is that?
First and foremost, small businesses usually have fewer resources to invest in cyber security compared to large corporations that can enact wide-reaching measures to prevent attacks and exploit synergies among different company branches to lower the costs associated with safeguarding the company network and develop specific expertise.
Secondly, it should always be highlighted that, although resources are important, most of the time attacks are triggered by human error and investing in the training of human resources is a key aspect in the prevention of cyber attacks. Also in this case, small businesses have less resources to invest in such training.
Moreover, small businesses often invest less in technology and updates, thus providing an opportunity for hackers to exploit weak points and vulnerabilities that develop in softwares that are no longer updated.
Finally, small businesses are more vulnerable to ransomware attacks, since such attacks often have a much bigger impact on small companies and risk paralyzing their activities since all data are usually stored just in one location. Therefore, the owners of small businesses are more likely to pay the ransom and, in a vicious cycle, this makes them more profitable prays compared to larger companies.
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1.3 Main targets in small businesses
Within SMEs, the main targets of hackers are high-value accounts, that is, the profiles of CEOs and CFOs. The research mentioned by Forbes found that these individuals are almost twice as likely to be attacked as an average employee. The aim, of course, is to gain access to data and information that is restricted for the employees of other levels within the organization.
Also, executive assistants seem to be a frequent target, since they have access to top-level profiles and calendars and can send out email on behalf of their teams, thus making it easier to convince employees to provide confidential information.
2. FlashStart: the ideal small business web filter
FlashStart provides the ideal cyber security solution for small businesses. The product it offers is a web filter that is easy to set up, manage and personalize. On top of this, the FlashStart’s web filter was first developed thinking about small businesses and schools, and still offers competitive packages that satisfy the needs of not only SMEs but also micro enterprises with very few accounts to secure.
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2.1 Web filters: how they work
So, what does a web filter do? Web filters act as a checkpoint between the company network and the world of the web. They act at the DNS level: once a user inputs the name of the site s/he wishes to reach in the search bar, the DNS system provides the IP address for that website, which is composed uniquely of numbers. At that point, the web filter checks the sequence of numbers of the IP address to verify whether the site is secure or not.
How does it do it? It checks the IP address against a range of denied lists, also called blacklists, that include all the IPs that are considered malicious, undesired or unsuitable. Then, depending on how thorough the protection is, it either allows access to the website or blocks it returning a message to the user.
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3 FlashStart: ideal for small businesses
So, what makes FlashStart the ideal small business web filter?
3.1 FlashStart: company plans starting from just 5 users
First of all, FlashStart is the ideal solution for SMEs and also for micro enterprises because its offer dedicated to companies starts with an initial requirement of only five licenses. Despite the low number, FlashStart focuses a lot on granting the Internet safety of small companies and hence the prices it offers are competitive also for SMEs.
>> Contact us now and find out the offer dedicated to small businesses.
From the five initial required licenses, the available company plans increase to ensure that all the devices in your business environment are secure, both the ones you own and those of external collaborators who need to connect to your network.
3.2 FlashStart: partners and resellers have already vetted it for you!
One of the problems mentioned above is that small companies usually don’t have enough resources to spend on cyber security. But also, they may not have enough free time left to check out all the offers for small business web filters available online. FlashStart helps you cut this time short since it sells only through resellers and certified partners.
This means that the FlashStart small business web filter has already been vetted and chosen by a third party, someone objective who needs to sell a good product to his clients in order to retain them. Being chosen by third parties grants small businesses that their hard-earned resources will be spent well.
3.3 FlashStart: navigate safely with just a few clicks
FlashStart is easy to set up. There is no need to download any software or purchase any additional hardware. The procedure to activate it is simple and requires just a few steps that are well explained by the online guide.
No technical expertise is needed! Just follow the instructions and, in case you have any doubts or experience any problems, you can contact our customer support: it is active 24/7 and can answer in English, Italian and Spanish.
3.4 FlashStart: Enjoy full updated protection, always and everywhere
FlashStart is fully cloud-based and exploits Artificial Intelligence to continuously scan the Internet in order to identify new threats. Once a threat is identified, FlashStart adds the IP address to its cloud and its clients can directly enjoy the updated protection without proceeding to any lengthy reboot.
Moreover, you can activate FlashStart both at the router level, thus ensuring that all the devices connected to the net are protected, or you can choose to activate it using ClientShield, the end-point application that makes all your mobile devices safe, covering also remote workers.
>>FlashStart is the choice of over 600 resellers and partners → Activate it now, it is free for 15 days.
You can activate the FlashStart® Cloud protection on any sort of Router and Firewall to secure desktop and mobile devices and IoT devices on local networks.