Date
18 January 2017
Cyber blackmailing is becoming increasingly profitable, providing hackers the incentive and money to become more sophisticated and organized. Photo: Internet
Cyber blackmailing is becoming increasingly profitable, providing hackers the incentive and money to become more sophisticated and organized. Photo: Internet

Why SMEs shouldn’t underestimate risks of cyber-attacks

For small businesses, neglecting cyber-attack risks will not only expose them to financial losses they can ill afford, it could also threaten their survival due to business disruption and the damage to reputation.

“Studies show that it takes on average of 90 days for businesses to discover they have been hacked,” business content site the Maven quotes Jens Krickhahn, cyber insurance expert at Allianz Global Corporate and Specialty.

Often the company is not the first to identify such incidents, but its customers or other stakeholders.

Cyber-attacks and technology failure are seen by risk managers and insurance experts as important new drivers of losses due to business interruption.

Such attacks are also taking new forms as internet criminals keep “upgrading” themselves.

Ransomware has been one of the most notorious blackmailing tools recently, an SMB World report pointed out.

This software can encrypt the target’s computer files and won’t release them unless the victim pays the ransom for the “key” to reopen them.

Some hackers disguise themselves as legitimate software firms and sell decoding solutions to “help” victims recover important information.

The ransom asked is also getting higher.

“A decryption key can cost about US$600,” the SMB report noted, with the amount doubling if the victim does not pay up within 96 hours in some cases.

Hacking techniques keep evolving and hackers are said to become increasingly organized.

“Some internet gangs have a whole crew of hackers,” the report warned.

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RC

EJ Insight writer

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