Cyber criminals increasingly targeting small businesses: Symantec

The internet security firm says it has noticed an increasing trend of cyber criminals targeting small businesses across the world.

Internet security firm Symantec says it has noticed an increasing trend of cyber criminals targeting small businesses across the world. Speaking to Business Today, David Hall, Regional Consumer Product Marketing Senior Manager for Asia Pacific for Symantec's consumer business, said this could be because larger enterprises have invested in protecting themselves and have better security policies in place.

A study conducted by the company, the Symantec State of Mobility Survey 2013, showed 72 per cent of Indian businesses faced mobile-related problems in the past 12 months, with 37 per cent having lost revenue due to this. The businesses faced 50 malware infections, 44 spam incidents, 34 exposures of confidential information, 31 breaches due to lost or stolen devices and 28 phishing or social engineering instances on average, says the report. These incidents have prompted 86 per cent of these businesses to change their policies.

"Techniques used to target Windows devices are now being ported to attack mobile devices," says Hall, adding that social is definitely the new battleground in the fight against cybercrime. He said the new trends in mobile space were premium SMSes phishing for information and adware on mobile. Of late there has been an increase in the number of trojanised apps that do illegal things in the background. A lot of them also affect the performance of the devices, Hall explained.

To cope with the proliferation of devices, Symantec is taking its protection to a higher level, raising it to the cloud. "We are investing on identity on the cloud and recently saw a large acquisition through VeriSign. We are looking at creating our own web browser that can protect people's identities and passwords," he says, adding that passwords were definitely a technology that needed an overhaul. "However, for security to be useful it has to be usable."

Thankfully, 45 per cent of Indian companies have ensured that mobile devices that connect to the network have proper safeguards installed, while 40 per cent restrict mobile device usage through HR enforcement and another 38 per cent use technology controls. While social media is becoming popular among Indian companies, only 31 per cent allow unrestricted social media use and collaboration among employees.