Small business security failings create enterprise supply chain risk, says Kaspersky Lab

SMBs have ‘head in the sand' over threats

Lax security practices among small businesses are leaving larger firms vulnerable to attack, security firm Kaspersky Lab has warned.

Speaking at the launch of research in London yesterday, senior researcher for Kaspersky, David Emm, said that in the past 18 months there has been an increase in cyber attacks that target smaller firms supplying to enterprises.

"If you think about the car industry, the big manufacturers almost certainly have a raft of internal experts on IT and security, but they also have lots of links [to smaller firms]," he said.

If you are going to launch a full-on attack [against a large firm] that is going to be harder to do than if you go after the organisation that manufactures door handles or components. They probably have a connection to the network, and almost certainly have some of the plans for the vehicles that are being developed.

"So who are you going to go after? You are going to get more mileage by going after the smaller organisation."

According to the Kaspersky Lab research, many smaller businesses in the UK lack adequate protection against cyber attacks which leave them and the companies they sell to open to being compromised.

Surveying 250 micro-firms of up to 10 employees, the research showed that 82 per cent did not believe they are a target for attack because they are "too small" or "don't have anything worth stealing". This is despite a separate recent report by the Federation of Small Business which asserted that 41 per cent of small firms were hit by cybercrime in 2013.

The Kaspersky research also shows that over a third (36 per cent) of small business owners manage security themselves, with 28 percent using external IT professionals.

"Quite often the person running the company may be responsible for security and for running the company accounts," Emm added. "This makes a small or niche organisation a bit like a big consumer - they are wide open to the same sort of threats. But at the same time they are open to the targeted attacks that are going on which are going after businesses."

One of the areas where small companies are potentially coming under threat is through mobile devices.

The study found that two-thirds (68 per cent) of smaller businesses rely on internet-connected laptops and half allow mobile and remote working.

"Interestingly we are very frightened of mobile as we have not seen the attack yet - that is the vector that we feel is definitely coming next," said Alex Grant, managing director of Fraud Prevention at Barclays, also speaking at the roundtable event.

Kaspersky Lab and Barclays have drafted the following guidance for micro-firms:

Your business security five-a-day

Spend just five minutes a day checking the following five things to help keep your business safe

1. Passwords - Check that all internet-enabled devices and computers that carry your business data are protected by strong passwords, regardless of whether the equipment is company or employee-owned.

2. Attachment Awareness - Understand the dangers that can lurk in emails, web-links USB sticks, CDs etc. and consider introducing extra software that will filter out or contain suspicious-looking items.

3. Educate all employees - Make sure everyone knows on how to stay safe online; including how to use strong passwords, spot suspect emails or sites, and protect company information.

4.Back-up - Every day make sure the information you store on computers is backed-up and secure. Imagine how your business would cope if you had to get through the day without it.

5. Security systems - Take full advantage of any user-friendly internet security software that that has been specially created for small firms such as your own to secure devices such as smartphones, laptops, tablets, computers, WiFi and networks. Don't forget about physical security as well - keep things out of sight and the site locked up.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags securitykaspersky lab

More about KasperskyKaspersky

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Matthew Finnegan

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place