OUR VIEW: Local merchants need help fighting cybercrime

Published on Monday, 10 April 2017 22:19
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As if small business leaders didn’t have enough to cope with, it turns out that they are prime targets for 21st-century crime.

“Forty-three percent of cybersecurity attacks target small businesses that employ 250 or less people,” said Travelers Institute President Joan Woodward. She was speaking at a program specifically designed for Connecticut business owners, who find themselves coping with this issue.

Connecticut Business and Industry Association president and CEO Joe Brennan noted that smaller companies don’t necessarily have the expertise or resources to prevent attacks,

In fact, in 2014, 50 percent of small businesses reported that they were victims of a cyberattack, in its many forms.

“We found that 61 percent of phishing attacks [fraudulent emails sent with the purpose to obtain personal employee or business information] were targeted at small and medium-sized businesses in 2014 - double what it was just a year earlier.” Dr. Jay Vadiveloo, director of UConn’s Goldenson Center for Actuarial Research

Many entrepreneurs are dependent upon vulnerable systems, like computers and smart phones, that are critical for business and personal transactions. And let’s not forget ATMs and gas pumps, which may be vulnerable to card skimmers.

As we’ve seen, when the companies we deal with on a daily basis are at risk, so are their customers’ personal information.

What can we do? Understand the reason for safeguards and be patient. For example, many area businesses - and their employees - are just getting comfortable with the new credit card chip readers, aimed at preventing fraud and protecting our information. If it takes a moment or two longer in the checkout line, breathe easy: it may save you and the business owner months of unraveling a fraudulent consequence!

Posted in The Bristol Press, Editorials on Monday, 10 April 2017 22:19. Updated: Monday, 10 April 2017 22:22.