Scotland

Small businesses warned they are 'easy' targets for hackers

A man's hands typing on a laptop keyboard Image copyright Reuters

Small businesses are "easy pickings" for hackers, the Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC) has warned.

The body, responsible for cyber security in Scotland, urged small businesses to take pre-emptive action to limit the threat of cyber attacks.

They recommended a series of measures that a business can take to protect itself from hackers.

The warning follows the recent cyber attacks on TalkTalk and a Scottish hairdressing salon.

SBRC director Mandy Haeburn-Little said that there was a belief that cyber attacks only affected large businesses but that in reality small firms face the greatest threat from hackers.

She said that small businesses' information was often not as well protected as that of large businesses and that small companies still tended to have lots of valuable information.

Because of this, small businesses are viewed as "ripe and easy pickings for cyber criminals", Ms. Haeburn-Little said.

Small businesses tend not to report cyber attacks for fear of reputational damage, according to the SBRC.

Ms Haeburn-Little said that if small businesses took basic steps to protect themselves against cyber attacks then hackers would quickly "move on to a more vulnerable target".

She added that businesses could enlist the help of the SBRC's "ethical hackers" to test and improve their resistance to cyber attacks.

The tests include cyber security and digital footprint assessments as well as testing how resilient the business's suppliers are to hackers.

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