Cybercrime starts and ends with stolen information.

According to ITProPortal, the cybercrime economy could be bigger than Apple, Google and Facebook combined. The industry has matured into an organized market that is probably more profitable than the drug trade.

Criminals use innovative and state-of-the-art tools to steal information from large and small organizations and then either use it themselves or, most common, sell it to other criminals through the Dark Web.

Small and mid-sized businesses have become the target of cybercrime and data breaches because they don’t have the interest, time or money to set up defenses to protect against an attack. Many have thousands of accounts that hold Personal Identifying Information, PII, or intelligent property that may include patents, research and unpublished electronic assets. Other small businesses work directly with larger organizations and can serve as a portal of entry much like the HVAC company was in the Target data breach.

Some of the brightest minds have developed creative ways to prevent valuable dark web links and private information from being stolen. These information security programs are, for the most part, defensive in nature. They basically put up a wall of protection to keep malware out and the information inside safe and secure.

Sophisticated hackers discover and use the organization’s weakest links to set up an attack

Unfortunately, even the best defensive programs have holes in their protection. Here are the challenges every organization faces according to a Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report in 2013:

  • 76 percent of network intrusions explore weak or stolen credentials
  • 73 percent of online banking users reuse their passwords for non-financial websites
  • 80 percent of breaches that involved hackers used stolen credentials

Symantec in 2014 estimated that 45 percent of all attacks is detected by traditional anti-virus meaning that 55 percent of attacks go undetected. The result is anti-virus software and defensive protection programs can’t keep up. The bad guys could already be inside the organization’s walls.

Small and mid-sized businesses can suffer greatly from a data breach. Sixty percent go out of business within a year of a data breach according to the National Cyber Security Alliance 2013.

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