All the latest UK technology news, reviews and analysis


Small businesses' BYOD practices leave them one cyber attack away from bankruptcy

06 Sep 2013
Security padlock image

Inadequate bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies are leaving small to medium-sized businesses open to attack by cyber criminals, according to security firm AVG.

AVG's SMB general manager Mike Foreman said despite progress in educating SMBs about basic network security, they are still woefully under-informed about the threats they face when using consumer devices, such as smartphones and tablets, for work purposes.

"Small businesses have probably just got their head around security within the network, but we've just rapidly changed their world, introducing mobile and tablets for SMB usage. SMBs are going to have to get their heads around that," he said

The AVG manager said the issue is doubly troubling as if they are successfully hacked, the cost of a data breach will cripple most SMBs. "The real big area for a small business is data privacy. This impacts all of us but for a small business to have data breaches, well it could be the end of their business. It is happening, we've seen it," he said.

AVG chief technology officer (CTO) Yuval Ben-Itzhak mirrored Foreman's sentiment, adding that attacks on mobile devices are troubling as they are another vector criminals can use to steal financial data.

"The main thing criminals are trying to do is get banking Trojans into the system so they can get login details for online banking. You don't see with SMBs any kind of espionage, they're too small it's all financially based. It's usually the stuff you can buy and customise, things like Zeus and SpyEye, all those families of malware," said Ben-Itzhak.

Ben-Itzhak highlighted the use by SMBs of free cloud services, such as Gmail and Dropbox, as another new trend requiring action. "We're seeing a trend with new businesses where their people are used to having everything in the cloud, they use things like Gmail and Dropbox for running the business," he said.

"From a security standpoint when people use these I think backup is important. This is because mess-ups happen, it happened with Gmail. Gmail had an 'event' where some people's messages were deleted and couldn't be recovered. So while these tools are very good for running a business as they save a lot on operation costs and remove a lot of complexity, they're not completely free. There is risk involved running them."

The AVG's warnings follow widespread rumblings within the security community for businesses to decrease their reliance on consumer-focused services such as Dropbox. Silent Circle's Mike Janke told V3 that businesses hoping to protect their customers' privacy cannot rely on services such as Google's Gmail.

Despite the negativity, Foreman said securing small business presents a golden opportunity for expansion. "From a small business point of view there are always going to be some bad guys coming after them, but I think those that show they can deal with them, that they can protect their customers, are going to have a real competitive advantage," he said

AVG is one of many firms to warn about the increased threat facing SMBs. Sophos director of technology James Lyne told V3 SMB websites have overtaken porn and gambling sites as cyber criminals' malware distribution tools of choice.

  • Comment  
  • Tweet  
  • Google plus  
  • Facebook  
  • LinkedIn  
  • Stumble Upon  
Alastair Stevenson
About

Alastair has worked as a reporter covering security and mobile issues at V3 since March 2012. Before entering the field of journalism Alastair had worked in numerous industries as both a freelance copy writer and artist.

View Alastair's Google+ profile

More on Security
What do you think?
blog comments powered by Disqus
Poll

BYOD vs CYOD vs BYOC poll

Which approach is your firm taking to managing employees' mobile devices?
24%
15%
4%
17%
28%
12%

Popular Threads

Powered by Disqus
samsung-galaxy-s5-smartphone

Samsung Galaxy S5 video review

We break down the key strengths and weaknesses of Samsung's latest Android flagship

Updating your subscription status Loading
Newsletters

Get the latest news (daily or weekly) direct to your inbox with V3 newsletters.

newsletter sign-up button
hpv33

Data protection: the key challenges

Deduplication is a foundational technology for efficient backup and recovery

rdc2

iPad makes its mark in the enterprise

The iPad can become a supercharged unified communications endpoint, allowing users to enhance their productivity

Unified Communications Consultant

Unified Communications Consultant - to £68k + excellent...

Test Analyst (Salesforce)

Our client is looking for contract Test Analyst for a...

Internet Bank Support - Galaxy

Our client requires an experienced Internet Bank Support...

3rd Line Technical Support Engineer / Consultant

Our client is looking for a 3rd line technical support...
To send to more than one email address, simply separate each address with a comma.