Why Cybercriminals Target Canadian Small and Mid-Size Businesses
The alarming facts about ransomware attacks in Canada
While the United States is reported to be the most affected region for ransomware attacks over the last year, Canada ranks a close second.[ii] For 2017, ransomware attacks in Canada are forecasted to increase within the public, legal and financial services sectors.[iii]
Of 125 anonymous Canadian organizations that participated in a global ransomware survey this year, 72% reported being the victim of a cyber-attack in the previous 12 months, and of those, 35 percent were identified as ransomware attacks.[iv]
According to the federal government, which launched a public consultation on cyber security on Aug. 16, 2016, about 70 % of Canadian businesses have been victims of cyber attacks and the average cost is $15,000 per incident.
The global consulting firm Accenture conducted a survey of 2,000 enterprise security practitioners, including 124 in Canada, and found that, “most Canadian companies do not have effective technologies in place to monitor for cyber attacks and are focused on risks and outcomes that have not kept pace with the threat.”[v]
These are serious threats, but there are ways to protect your business.
Few small or mid-sized businesses have full-time computer security staff, and many don’t even have effective software solutions. Nor do they have adequate business continuity systems in place to mitigate the loss of precious data in the event of a breach.
Without effective safeguards and internal security precautions in place, companies are completely exposed to identity theft and the loss of valuable personal information at the hands of cyber criminals.
What safeguards and internal security precautions does your business have right now?
Cyber criminals won’t hack us; we’re too small. Right?
And the bad guys love that attitude. Hacking is a sophisticated business. A thriving business. Hackers are serious about collecting ransom money. Whether the ransom demand is small or large, the amount paid in bitcoin, (a digital currency) is pure profit, untraceable and easy enough to get from a small business owner anxious to retrieve valuable data and keep functioning.
Hacking a whole lot of unprotected small business systems in a day and collecting ransom amounts that are “affordable” to small business owners earns a cyber criminal a tidy profit.
The majority of smaller ransom attacks go unreported, which can encourage the attacker to return later for more money. Or the business pays the ransom and does not get its data back.
You can’t win. But you can be prepared with security software and the right data backup protocols.
Where do you begin?
The first step toward protecting your business is acknowledging that it needs protection. Learn about and understand your risks and vulnerabilities.
Asking an IT specialist to conduct a cyber risk assessment will highlight potential problems and provide solutions.
Don’t be a victim. Act now to protect your business against cyber criminals.
Find out more!
- On our blog post: What can you do to prevent a ransomware attack?
- At SOPHOS: How does a ransomware attack work?
[i] PwC, “Key Findings from the Global State of Information Security Survey 2016 – Canadian Insights”, at p.7.
[ii] Symantec, “Ransomware and Businesses 2016”, at pp.6-7 (“Symantec Report”).
[iii] KPMG, “Cyber Watch Report”, April 2016, at p.1 (“Cyber Watch Report”).
[iv] Osterman Research Inc., “Understanding the Depth of the Global Ransomware Problem”, August 2016, at p.24.