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41% of SME's were victims of a phishing attack in 2020

Byte-size Bulletin by Rachael Brown in Security, News on Aug 11, 2021

phishing hook

In bad news for businesses, a survey conducted by the European Union Agency for Cybersecurity has found that small and medium enterprises are at an extremely high risk for cyber attacks.

The survey, conducted in 2020, polled nearly 250 mid-sized organisations across Europe about cybersecurity risks and issues they faced last year.

It found that SME’s were more likely to report being victims of social engineering style attacks than larger organisations.

Phishing was the most common form of attack launched at these enterprises, with a staggering 41% of firms reporting they had fallen victim. Other common forms of attacks noted in the report included web-based attacks, with four in 10 businesses falling prey, and general malware attacks, specifically targeted at unsecured smaller businesses.

William Sword of Atlas VPN commented in response to this that “Many small companies underrate the possibility of an attack happening to them due to their size,” an assumption which is a huge problem because "that is precisely what hackers search for, as they can get quick money with a ransomware threat from lesser secured SMEs.”

Sword notes a major reason for the rise in these attacks is the pandemic, which has rapidly increased businesses day to day reliance on technology. Many SME's, forced into remote and hybrid working situations, have been unprepared for heightened cyber security risks, leading them to be easily victimised by attacks.

“This is a signal for European SMEs to tackle this issue more seriously and work on educational programs for their employees.” noted Sword.

Their tips for businesses to keep themselves better protected? Create and establish basic security practices for employees.

In addition to this, practices like keeping software up to date with patches and having a backup of your data in the cloud in case of a data breach or a ransomware attack are also suggested. 


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