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Email compromises and hacks are serious threats to small business

SBDC: 43% of cyber attacks target small business
Business Email Compromise hacks are a major threat to small business
Posted at 5:05 AM, Apr 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-21 09:27:16-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — Cybercriminals and fraudsters are only making things more challenging for small businesses and employees working to recover from the economic impact of the pandemic. News5 takes a deep dive into how email hacks are devastating small businesses.

If you use an email for work this is a major warning you need to know about. Cybercriminals are trying to hack into your email, or one that belongs to your boss, all to fool someone in your company into giving up information, or paying them.

Business Email Compromises (BEC) hacks, and phishing emails are on the rise and one wrong click could open the door to cybercriminals who will use your business email account to trick coworkers, or clients into giving up sensitive information or even paying the fraudsters.

In 2019, the Town of Erie, Colorado accidentally paid fraudsters more than a million dollars who posed as a company doing a major construction project.

The Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center recognizes how serious this is.

"So, about 60% of businesses will go out of business after six months of an email hack. What we always say is it's going to happen so you need to be prepared," said Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center Executive Director Aikta Marcoulier. "You can't pretend that it's not happening. There is a high percentage of businesses that don't think cybersecurity is a big deal. And after it happens, guess what? It's a big deal because 60% go out of business."

Business Email Compromise scams have been such a problem that the FBI put out an alert along with its Internet Crime Complaint Center Report.

In 2020, 19,369 Business Email Compromise scams were reported to federal investigators. In these nationwide crimes more than $1.8 billion were lost. Those dollar losses are up 5% from 2019.

The small business development center wants to help businesses in the Pikes Peak Region survive these attacks.

"We will go in an look at the risks you have with your business regardless of the industry. What type of computers are you using? Are you allowing your employees to bring their own devices? All of that is something where no matter what kind of business it is, we need to look at and you need to look at to make sure you're safe," said Marcoulier. "We provide all that for free. All that support, all that consulting, all the education. When you need an attorney if you get hacked, if you need an insurance specialist, if you need someone to come in it's really expensive. So why not get that for free?"

When we look specifically at Colorado federal investigators were alerted to 495 victims of BEC attacks in 2020. Last year alone, through these types of crimes cybercriminals managed to steal more than $48 million from people and businesses in our state.

If you are a small business owner that needs to bolster your company's cybersecurity, or an employee who wants some additional training in this area there are resources available.

Just visit this link to see how the Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center can help:
https://pikespeaksbdc.org/what-we-do/programs/sbdc-techsource-cyber-cya/