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If the cybercrime game has become a race to the bottom to find viable targets and small businesses are prime targets, then what are cybercriminals after?

If you’re like most small businesses, you don’t have troves of intellectual property or millions of dollars sitting in the bank. Yet, even if that is the case, there are still several things about small businesses that make them potential targets.

We’ll start with the two you items on the cybercriminals shopping list you’re probably already aware of.

Intellectual Property

Of course, we can’t leave out intellectual property. Intellectual property theft is a chief aim of Cybercriminals interested in industrial espionage or to sell to the highest bidder. 

However, since most small businesses don’t have much in the way of intellectual property that a Cybercriminal could use for industrial espionage or sell for a profit, it isn’t likely they’d target your business for this goal alone.

That being said – if your business is disrupting your industry in a very compelling way, intellectual property theft isn’t something to ignore. 

Competitors who want to beat you to market or people who don’t want your business to succeed can be a genuine concern.

Money

Money certainly makes the world go round. It’s probably no surprise that most Cybercriminals are in business to make a profit, just like you are. 

Besides gaining access to your bank accounts, a Cybercriminal could initiate a wire transfer, change invoice payment details, or direct deposit information to redirect funds to bank accounts they control.

Information

I know we just talked about intellectual property; however, this is a little different. In this instance, cybercriminals are not after your intellectual property but any data that your business uses to operate, which they can get their hands on, such as documents, emails, and application files.  

Instead of stealing it to use or sell, they want to leverage it as a bargaining chip. 

Either they’ll hold it for ransom and require you to pay a hefty sum to get access to it back, or they’ll threaten to expose the information publically if you don’t pay them.

Your Computer

A Cybercriminal may not be after your business at all, but only your computers. They’ll use armies of compromised computers they’ve installed malware on as robots (called botnets) to attack other people or companies.

Your Customers

If an organization has excellent Cybersecurity, one tactic Cybercriminals have to get around that Cybersecurity is to target a vendor or supplier who may have weaker Cybersecurity. They’ll then use their relationship to their advantage.

For example, let’s say your business had access to customer’s internal systems. A Cybercriminal may target your business, which they hope has weaker Cybersecurity, so that they can use your access to get around your customer’s strong Cybersecurity and into their internal systems.

For another example, let’s say a Cybercriminal notices that you’re a vendor of a large company. They could attack your business with the intent to read your email and copy some legitimate invoices and email threads.

Then, they’ll send the invoices back to your client from a fake but seemingly legitimate email address with the payment information changed, prompting your client to pay.

As you can see, even though your business may be small, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it won’t be a target for Cybercriminals. 

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