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Small firms unprepared for cyber-crime

Date 10 Sep 2007

Small businesses are unaware of the IT security risks they face, it has been claimed. Research carried out among small and medium-sized firms across Europe has found that smaller businesses do not believe they are facing a real threat from cyber criminals. Almost half of the firms polled said that cyber crime is only an issue for larger organisations. 45% believed not being well-known would prevent IT security threats, and 58% said they were not a ‘valuable target' for cyber criminals.

According to McAfee, the technology company that commissioned the research, this suggests that small firms are ‘burying their heads in the sand', since 73% of businesses polled deem online access and availability critical to their business.

Greg Day, senior security analyst at McAfee, said: "We know that cyber criminals don't discriminate, to them size doesn't matter. "Every small and medium-sized business, even very small ones, will have customer details or financial information that will be of use to a cyber criminal."

The findings suggested that as well as attitude, a lack of time and resources could be leaving small firms at risk. Nearly 30% of those polled said they spent only one hour a week on IT security management, even though 19% said an attack could put them out of business.

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