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Cyber Crime - Why Small Businesses Can Lose Big

What are cyber criminals after? Whether you run a florist shop, a courier service or a small manufacturing business, you're an attractive target to cyber criminals. You've also got a lot to protect: an estimated 40% ot a small business's worth is derived from the information it owns.

No business is too small to be a target. 2

90% of small businesses believe a cyber attack would have serious impact.

50% of small businesses don't think that they're targets of cyber crime.

40% of all cyber attacks in 2011 were on small to medium sized businesses.

(We're now in a countryside, where three old single-engine planes fly through the sky, each carrying long banners that display words describing what cyber criminals are after.)

What are cyber criminals after?

Customer Records
Contact Lists
Employee Information
Company Banking Info
Computer Access

(Now we're in a larger city, driving past a colourful skyline. Eight office buildings, every one a different height, stand side by side in ascending order. Atop each is a billboard that displays a percentage.)

What attacks do businesses face? 3

Phishing & social engineering 30%
Malicious insiders 30%
Malicious code 42%
Stolen devices 44%
Web-based attacks 64%
Botnets 82%
Malware 96%
Viruses, worms, Trojans 100%

(We've driven out of the city and are now passing by farmland dotted with four radio towers. Each tower sends out a signal, only the signals are percentages. We can also see some coloruful hot-air balloons gliding through the sky.)

Mobile devices are vulnerable too. 4

58% of Canadian security breaches and data loss occurred as a result of mobile devices

62% of mobile devices lost contained sensitive or confidential information

45% of Canadian employees avoid or turn off security features on mobile devices

67% of Canadian businesses don't have a mobile device usage policy

(We've entered another city where seven colourful office buildings stand side-by-side. To the left of them stands a flagpole that holds five flags, each one bearing a percentage. In ascending order they read: 20%, 40%, 60%, 80%, 100%. The entire effect is of a graph made up of the elements we describe.)

What do cyber criminals get? 5,6

Payment Card Numbers & Data (approximately 84%)
Authentication Credentials (approximately 84%)
Copyright & Trademarked Materials (approximately 75%)
Medical Records (approximately 73%)
Classified Information (approximately 72%)
Bank Account Number & Data (approximately 70%)
Personal Information (approximately 60%)

(Now we're passing by a large urban construction site where four construction cranes each hold a wrecking ball. On each ball is written a percentage.)

What are the consequences of losing information? 1

Lost Customers (49%)
Damage to The Brand (43%)
Increased Expenses (41%)
Decreased Revenue (37%)

(The last stop on our trip shows a scene of pure horror! In a large city, a huge green dinosaur (reminiscent of a famous science-fiction reptile) is destroying buildings with his powerful legs. To his left we see a large office building (which represents larger businesses) that has suffered only a small crack. But to his right sits a small building (representing smaller businesses) that he is about to completely demolish.)

Cyber crimes cost smaller businesses more. 2

Larger Business per capita cost = $284
Smaller Business per capita cost =$1,088

Protect your small business from cyber crime

  • Educate your employees on cyber safety.
  • Keep your software and operating systems up-to-date.
  • Change passwords often.
  • Establish a clear Internet usage policy
  • Establish rules for using email safely
  • Visit for more tips on running a cybersafe small business


  1. Symantec's 2012 State of Information Survey, based on interviews with 2053 IT professionals.
  2. Symantec SMB Threat Awareness Poll Global Results, September 2011
  3. Ponemon Institute, Second Annual Cost of Cyber Crime Study, August 2011(Study reviewed organizations of various sizes.)
  4. Ponemon Institute, Global Study on Mobility Risks, February 2012
  5. Numbers represent a percentage of all breaches to small and large organizations.
  6. Verizon, “Data Breach Investigations Report,” 2012

(This infographic takes the reader along a winding road that stretches through small towns, large cities and rural landscapes, educating them on how cyber crime affects small businesses.

Our trip begins on a road that stretches before large mountains. A little red car speeds along the highway.)

(We now see three colorful office buildings in a small town. The buildings descend in size from largest to smallest, left to right. There is copy that we can read inside the clouds over each building.)

Thank you to Government of Canada for this information. To view original article, click here