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Marketplace Morning Report

Cyber security attacks can hit smaller businesses, too

Marketplace Staff May 13, 2011
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Steve Chiotakis: On Monday, former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and FCC chairman Julius Genachowski will join representatives from Symantec and McAfee at a roundtable on cyber security in small business.

You might think only big companies are susceptible to cyber attacks, but Marketplace Tech Report host John Moe is here to tell us otherwise. Good morning John.

John Moe: Hey Steve.

Chiotakis: I can’t help but think about Sony, which took a big PR hit with their hacks and the breach of their systems there. What happens with smaller businesses, John?

Moe: Well a security breach for a small business isn’t going to show up in the newspaper the way it did for Sony, but it definitely shows up at the bank. The FCC is saying that each cyber attack costs a small or mid-size business an average of $200,000, which, if you’re a small business, you know, that’s not exactly coins in your penny jar.

Chiotakis: A lot of money, yeah.

Moe: There’s a recent report that I read said 85 percent of all businesses have had some type of security breach. So it’s a huge problem and it seems to be just getting worse.

Chiotakis: And what can business owners do to, I don’t know, avoid getting hit by these cyber thieves?

Moe: Pray. Hope. Hold on to something.

Chiotakis: Is that it, really?

Moe: The problem is, that the attacks are getting more sophisticated. The defenses are getting more sophisticated, although they’re having a hard time because they’re just reacting to the attacks. We talked to the FCC about this, they said they’re going to be offering some partnerships for small businesses to be a part of, some consultancies, some networks that they can kind of tap into to get expertise. But make no mistake: there’s a huge war going on right now, and it’s not just the big companies that are being hit — it’s everybody.

Chiotakis: And what about you and I — what can we do to keep an eye on all this?

Moe: I keep looking for this hopeful note to bring to the interviews, Steve, and I really wish I could bring a more hopeful note.

Chiotakis: You’re kind of a Debbie Downer today, John.

Moe: I’m trying my best. But you know, it’s best to use a different password everywhere you go. Change those passwords all the time. Keep your anti-virus software updated. Common sense stuff, but really the best thing you can do, Steve, is to never take the approach of, ‘Well it’s never going to happen to me.’ It’s likely already happened in a place you do business with.

Chiotakis: Marketplace Tech Report host John Moe. John, thank you.

Moe: Thanks Steve.

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