• Probrand warns East Midlands SMEs against latest cyber threat

SMEs in the East Midlands are being urged to safeguard against the threat posed by increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks like Malvertising. The warning follows research that has found 74% of small businesses in the region are likely to have suffered a security breach in the last year, with over 260,000 organisations affected.  

Mark Lomas, IT consultant at Probrand, said: ‘‘Many SME’s still consider themselves too small, or not enough of a ‘catch’, to appeal to cyber criminals yet small businesses are low hanging fruit and often fail to protect themselves properly.  This is particularly worrying when considering that security breaches are growing in number, and becoming more sophisticated.’’

A recent cybersecurity report from Cisco revealed that ransomware attacks – in which hackers infect a computer and demand a ransom payment to restore it – are expected to become even more persistent. Where previously, attacks have focused on infiltrating a single computer, ransomware attacks are likely to spread faster, infecting a whole network, or organisation.

Businesses should also be conscious of the growing deployment of ‘malvertising’, malicious advertising, that is threatening businesses. This risk has become much more common, and involves attackers injecting infected advertisements onto legitimate websites to spread malware.

Lomas continues: ‘‘Despite the rise in these types of attack, SMEs can become prepared – and protected. An attainable first step lies with Cyber Essentials; a set of IT security standards developed and backed by the government. Aimed at smaller businesses wanting to protect themselves against common cyber threats, the standards are a viable way to put in place, test and attain security policies.’’

To help organisations become ‘cyber streetwise’, Probrand has agreed to offer SMEs in the East Midlands region a free half-day assessment to identify and analyse issues, and to provide guidance on getting started with Cyber Essentials.