Little Companies…Big Hacks…by dStringer

In musing about what I was going to write in today's blog, I turned on my T.V. to get my morning news fill and there it was...another hacking story.  "Well", I told myself.  "I've written about cyber security many times.  Do I write about it again"?

Ahhh...but this story has emphasis on a growing problem that is not discussed very much, or, until this incident, really has not even been though of as a concern.

First of all, the latest cyber crime victim is Vtech, a smaller Hong Kong based toy maker.  The hacked data at VTech included information about customers who download children's games, books and other educational content. The breach also included information relating to children.

The VTech hacking highlights a growing problem with basic cyber security measures at small, non-financial companies that handle electronic customer data.  As more devices are connected to the Internet and as companies increasingly collect personal information about their customers, such attacks are expected to increase.

It's very simple...Smaller companies might be targeted less often, but the implications ... can be just as serious. As larger companies implement stronger security measures, smaller companies become relatively easy targets for cyber crime, since most do not observe themselves as targets at all.  That dangerous mindset, along with the smaller financial resources to implement strong security measures, leaves them vulnerable for cyber crime.

In VTech's case, information that should have been obscured and unrecoverable if the database were breached - such as passwords and secret answers - perhaps wasn't obscured at all or was done so improperly.

The disturbing fact here is that these types of security measures were basic best practices that don't require a lot of money. And, it's unfortunately, somewhat common with smaller businesses to try to save money and "rob Peter to pay Paul"...in other words, skimp on one end of the business to invest in the other.  Many feel that they can "be cheap" with their cyber security measures because they are "little fish in a big pond".  For example compare VTech's market value of HK$21.9 billion ($2.8 billion) to Tech giant Apple Inc who has a market capitalization of $657 billion.

Cyber security is an easy place to be cheap with minimal consequences until something like this happens.

It is the Domino Effect that has to be considered with every business.  Perhaps you feel your business is not "Cyber-Crime worthy"...in other words, "why would these hackers want to mess with me?  I have nothing they want."

Consider this...do you have a customer data base?  Do those customers have credit cards, social security numbers?  Even if you only have 100 customers in your data base, the potential pay off for the cyber criminal could be hundreds of thousands of dollars.

And let us not forget the damage to your business credibility should you be hacked.  Vtech's stock is already down 22%...which affects their CEO, Board of Directors, management, employees, their stockholders -  You see...the Domino Effect is far reaching.

Something else to contemplate...a thief always looks for the easiest house to rob.  If there are several locks and bolts on the doors and windows, the burglar will move on to a less challenging target.  So it is with cyber crime.  Apple may have much more value, but VTech was a much easier target.

If you are a business owner, CEO, or a manager, it is definitely worth researching and taking advantage of free consultation offers from I.T. companies who specialize in cyber security.  You will find that it is well worth the investment to avoid the potential catastrophic affects.  Much like insurance, investing in cyber security is investing in peace of mind.

Of course, we would welcome the opportunity to offer you a free consultation.  And.  if you choose not to contract with us, please..contract with someone.  It is THAT important.