Symantec Corporation, which provides the latest analysis of cyber security, recently released its June 2012 Intelligence Reports, which showed an increase in scammers targeting small businesses. This growth in small business attacks has been steadily rising for the past six months.
The reported showed 36 percent of all targeted attacks - about 58 per day - were at businesses with 250 or fewer employees in the last six months. This figure was at 18 percent in December 2011. The number of total attacks on all size businesses increased 24 percent with an average of 151 targeted attacks blocked each day in May in June.
Even though small businesses are being targeted, the large enterprises are blocking the most number of attacks, with an average of 69 being blocked each day.
"There appears to be a direct correlation between the rise in attacks against smaller businesses and a drop in attacks against larger ones. It almost seems attackers are diverting their resources directly from the one group to the other," said Paul Wood, cyber security intelligence manager at Symantec.
When it comes to which industries were attacked the most, the Defense industry was targeted the most with an average of 7.3 attacks per day, whereas the Chemical/Pharmaceutical and Manufacturing sectors were numbers two and three, respectively. However, they have not received as many attacks as they did last year.
"It is important to remember that although on the increase, targeted attacks are still very rare. Targeted attacks use customized malware and refined targeted social engineering to gain unauthorized access to sensitive information. We regard this as the next evolution of social engineering, where victims are researched in advance and specifically targeted," said Wood.
Additional highlights from the report include that the global ratio of spam in email traffic decreased by 1 percent since May to 66.8 percent. This has been a slow but steady decrease in spam emails since late last year.
It is important for company owners to protect against these types of attacks, as they can bring about a great deal of small business challenges. Small businesses that rely on their computer systems to store the majority of their information should implement anti-virus and security software to prevent a serious attack.