March 23, 2018 By Shane Schick 2 min read

Small business cybersecurity threats have become so common that the average website was attacked 44 times a day in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to a recent research study.

SiteLock’s “Website Security Insider: Q4 2017” found that randomly generated encoded malware represented 51 percent of malicious software detected. Backdoor files, JavaScript injectors and “defacements” — instances where sites are taken down or replaced with messages from cybercriminals — were also among the top small business cybersecurity issues reported during Q4 2017.

No Target Is Too Small for Cybercriminals

The report’s authors noted that there’s no such thing as an organization that’s “too small to be hacked.” They suggested that attacks against these organizations may be on the rise due to the proliferation of websites built with dynamic, database-driven applications, such as WordPress and Joomla, rather than static HTML. The relatively small number of files used to serve content means that a single vulnerability could create major opportunities for cybercriminals.

In general, WordPress sites using plugins were twice as likely to be compromised as non-CMS sites. In addition, the report illustrated the importance of keeping patches up to date, noting that 55 percent of infected WordPress sites were not running the current, most secure version.

Based on its analysis of more than 6 million websites, SiteLock concluded that small business cybersecurity risks increase as more social media connections, complex themes and other features are added to a website. These high-risk sites are 27 times more likely to be compromised, according to the report.

The nature of those risks are beginning to look a lot like those facing large enterprises: 25 percent of the threats blocked in the fourth quarter of 2017 were distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.

Shining a Spotlight on Small Business Cybersecurity

SiteLock isn’t alone in trying to raise awareness about small business cybersecurity threats. Verizon’s “2017 Data Breach Investigation Report” revealed that 61 percent of cyberattacks target small businesses. A report from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), meanwhile, suggested that half of small businesses go out of business within six months of suffering a cybersecurity attack.

A cyberattack can devastate a small business. As small business security threats become more likely, companies need to make sure they are implementing proper security controls.

More from

Unpacking the NIST cybersecurity framework 2.0

4 min read - The NIST cybersecurity framework (CSF) helps organizations improve risk management using common language that focuses on business drivers to enhance cybersecurity.NIST CSF 1.0 was released in February 2014, and version 1.1 in April 2018. In February 2024, NIST released its newest CSF iteration: 2.0. The journey to CSF 2.0 began with a request for information (RFI) in February 2022. Over the next two years, NIST engaged the cybersecurity community through analysis, workshops, comments and draft revision to refine existing standards…

What should Security Operations teams take away from the IBM X-Force 2024 Threat Intelligence Index?

3 min read - The IBM X-Force 2024 Threat Intelligence Index has been released. The headlines are in and among them are the fact that a global identity crisis is emerging. X-Force noted a 71% increase year-to-year in attacks using valid credentials.In this blog post, I’ll explore three cybersecurity recommendations from the Threat Intelligence Index, and define a checklist your Security Operations Center (SOC) should consider as you help your organization manage identity risk.The report identified six action items:Remove identity silosReduce the risk of…

Obtaining security clearance: Hurdles and requirements

3 min read - As security moves closer to the top of the operational priority list for private and public organizations, needing to obtain a security clearance for jobs is more commonplace. Security clearance is a prerequisite for a wide range of roles, especially those related to national security and defense.Obtaining that clearance, however, is far from simple. The process often involves scrutinizing one’s background, financial history and even personal character. Let’s briefly explore some of the hurdles, expectations and requirements of obtaining a…

Topic updates

Get email updates and stay ahead of the latest threats to the security landscape, thought leadership and research.
Subscribe today