The GoDaddy inaugural Small Business Website Security Report reveals hackers are costing small businesses thousands
The study of 1000 small business owners discovered three in ten had fallen prey to cybercriminals and suffered a serious data breach which required them to notify their customers and clients.
One in eight business owners said the attack had caused them to experience financial losses in excess of USD $5000.
The report revealed phishing scams and social engineering fraud were the most common form of attacks followed by malware and computer viruses.
Cleaning up compromised files was often not enough to safeguard a site from future issues. Businesses were often retargeted by hackers who had left backdoors in websites in order to re-enter and reattack.
The report said of the 65,000 global website clean-up requests, half involved outdated software on the most commonly used platform and tools, including WordPress and its content management system (CMS).
Many small businesses were also ignorant of their website being attacked until they were blacklisted by search engines.
Search engines such as Google scan the tens of trillions of domains for malware, SEO spam and phishing scams. If a site is deemed suspicious it can damage a business by making it invisible to online customers.
“If Google blacklists an infected website, you’re basically off the Internet until the website is fixed,” Peter Jensen, the CEO of StopTheHacker.com commented in the report.
That can cost a small business operator thousands of dollars, but what causes a blacklist trigger is not always a black and white issue. Each search engine or security company has its own criteria. For example, research of GoDaddy customers found that Norton and Site Adviser had three times the per cent number of reported blacklisted sites.
The report’s key takeaway is that small business owners need to be more vigilant when it comes to cybersecurity and that maintaining updates and adopting security measures such as anti-virus and malware protection is essential.