Cyber attacks financially hit half of US small businesses

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Tuesday, 02 October, 2018

Cyber attacks financially hit half of US small businesses

Nearly half of US very small businesses have suffered a financial loss due to cyber attacks, with one in eight reporting losses of over US$5000, research commissioned by GoDaddy suggests.

A survey conducted by research firm Morar on behalf of the domain registrar and web hosting company found that three in 10 very small businesses that have reported a cyber breach have had to inform customers and clients, leading to the risk of reputational and relationship damage.

Very small businesses were classed in the research as companies with between one and five employees. Of these, 67% report spending $500 or less per year on website security, and only 30% of website operators report that they regularly check their sites for security vulnerabilities.

According to a report prepared for the research, 58% of malware attack victims are small businesses and one in five SMEs have faced a ransomware threat in the past year.

A forensic analysis of 65,477 global requests for GoDaddy’s assistance with a compromised website over the past year found that half involved the use of outdated software associated with the most commonly used platform, WordPress.

Once infected, attackers target multiple parts of a website, with the GoDaddy security team on average cleaning up 110 compromised files per hacked site.

Very small businesses with websites that have been infected without their knowledge face a no-win scenario whereby either their compromised website is flagged and blacklisted by search engines or internet security companies, cutting them off from online access to their customers, or they are left undetected, increasing the risk of reputational damage.

GoDaddy said its research suggests that only around 10% of malware-infected websites are flagged and blacklisted.

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