Sat. Apr 4th, 2020

SMEs, the most vulnerable to cyber attacks

SMEs are the main objective of cyberdelicuents, This is how Google has warned in its study of the current landscape of cybersecurity in Spain. So far this year, three out of four companies in our country have suffered a cyber attack, and estimates suggest that the cost of these attacks will amount to 6 billion euros in 2020. Within this chain, small and medium enterprises , of which 99.8% is composed of the Spanish business fabric, are the most vulnerable link, due to lack of means, time, but, above all, awareness. These companies hold on to the false feeling that they are not an interesting target of cyber attacks. Therefore, Google, in collaboration with Incibe and Cepyme, have launched a campaign that aims to raise awareness and train companies against attacks on the network.

"The future has few certainties, but it will be increasingly technological," said Fuencisla Clemares, General Director of Google Spain and Portugal. In the 21st century virtually every company has a digital dimension. Therefore, currently attacks on the network are more massive and they occur in the form of hundreds of small attacks against poorly protected targets and require user intervention. Faced with the shielding of large companies, cybercriminals change the focus of their attacks on SMEs. "An attack on Spanish SMEs can block a large part of the productive forces of our country," said Alberto Álvarez, General Director of Incibe.

In 2018, Spain suffered 102,414 cyberattacks (7 times more than a year ago) against citizens and businesses. During the same year, 38,000 cyber attacks (43% more than a year ago) were detected in Spanish public administrations, some of the most digitized in Europe, according to Fernando de Pablo, Secretary General of Digital Administration, Ministry of Territorial Policy and Public function. "It's a problem of national and global cybersecurity," declared Mar López Gil, Chief of Cybersecurity of the Department of National Security.

However, despite the magnitude of the problem, almost 3 million medium and small businesses in Spain are little or nothing protected against hackers. Two thirds of them lack sufficient knowledge and trained employees to combat cyberspace threats. And only 36% of SMEs surveyed have established basic security protocols, such as two-step verification for company mail, and 30% of the websites do not have an https protocol. A hacking of customer data directly attacks the benefits and reputation of the company. According to the figures in the report, 60% of European SMEs that are victims of cyber attacks disappear in the six months following the incident, whose average cost is usually around 35,000 euros.

Every day more than 350,000 new variants of "malware" are detected. Of all of them, the most feared are "ransomware". Through these threats, the offender takes control of the infected computer and hijacks the user's information by encrypting it, and then asks for a ransom for the data. More than 50% of these threats are related to fraud. To carry out these crimes, a simple email with “spam” that includes an infected link or file is enough. Other widespread viruses are bank Trojans, which supplant our identity to make transfers from our accounts in online banking. Some recent attacks are hacking of the mail of Judge Marchena or WhatsApp of Albert Rivera, as well as the cyber attack on the City of Jerez.

Bernardo Quintero, founder of Virus Total, has taken the opportunity to remember that only 2% of the workforce in Spain focuses on the technology sector, despite being one of the most promising. The cybersecurity market is growing at an annual rate of 13% and, in terms of job opportunities, the study indicates that in Europe, 350,000 professionals in the cybersecurity sector will be needed in the next three years.

To boost awareness, training and the Spanish entrepreneurial ecosystem in this area, Google has launched a cybersecurity campaign focused on these three pillars. First, the “Protect your business” program will offer free training for SMEs from mid-November in collaboration with Cepyme and Incibe. Second, Google will encourage the acceleration of 8 cybersecurity start-ups, of which six are Spanish. And finally, it will promote specialized cybersecurity training for women through ten scholarships at the University of Malaga, thus reducing the gender gap in this sector.

. (tagsToTranslate) cybercrime

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