Sussex businesses hit by cybercrime

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Almost half of all small and micro businesses in the south East report having experienced cybercrime, according to new research from the Association of Accounting Technicians.

However, the research also shows that many of them are not taking enough precautions to protect themselves.

Of the small and micro business owners – businesses with up to 49 employees – who said their business had suffered cybercrime, 27 per cent had been victims of phishing, where sensitive information such as passwords are stolen by someone pretending to be from the bank; 25 per cent had suffered computer virus infection and 15 per cent had suffered card fraud.

Despite the high number of businesses who have been victims of cybercrime, a significant number of small and micro businesses in the region are still not doing what they need to do to protect their businesses, according to the research.

Some 71 per cent reported using regular updates of anti-virus software, meaning that 29 per cent are not guarding against computer viruses and malware; 69 per cent reported using firewall protection; meaning 31 per cent do not; only 35 per cent reported changing their business passwords regularly, which is essential for keeping passwords secure; only 34 per cent reported regularly installing security patches, which are needed to keep security software up to date for the latest threats and 11 per cent reported not using any methods at all to protect their business from cybercrime.

Rik Ferguson, vice president of security research at security software company Trend Micro said, “This research shows that although many business owners are aware of cybersecurity risks and are taking action to guard against them, there are still some who need to do more to protect their businesses.

“There is good cybersecurity advice available for free online, but businesses should always consider finding a trusted specialist security partner, as different businesses will have different security needs depending on what they do, and security advice is not one size fits all.”

Mark Farrar, AAT chief executive said, “Keeping online information secure is vital. A security breach could put you out of action and cost you money, which can be fatal for smaller businesses that have very little time and money to spare. Businesses should always protect every aspect of their online profile.”

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