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June 28, 2013

Why Would Hackers Target My Little Company?

If your business is relatively small, keeps a low profile, and isn’t involved in financial services or national defense, you might assume that data security isn’t a big issue for you. Why would someone in the presumably limited pool of hackers take the time to target your company? How would they even know about it?

And if by some strange chance a hacker did get in, so what? You might assume you could hire someone to clean up your systems. All of your employees would have to change their passwords, which would be annoying, but pretty soon it’d be back to business.

Five or 10 years ago, those assumptions would have been at least defensible, if not correct. Cyber attackers tended to be lone wolves who went after high-profile companies or government organizations. They were trying to score political points or show off their power to break in and disrupt. They weren’t in business to siphon money out of digital commerce or trying to bring down governments. As they are today.

In recent years the lone wolves have banded together into syndicates that have acquired significant resources, and a lively international market for logins, passwords, medical records — pretty much any kind of confidential data — has sprung into being. Each pilfered name or number might not be worth much on its own, but a theft of millions of records can earn a hacker an enormous profit.

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