Cyber criminals targeting small businesses

Sep 14, 2009 By LOLITA C. BALDOR , Associated Press Writer

(AP) -- Cyber criminals are increasingly targeting small and medium-sized businesses that don't have the resources to keep updating their computer security, according to federal authorities.

Many of the attacks are being waged by organized cyber groups that are based abroad, and they are able to steal not only , but personal information - including - of the card holders, said Michael Merritt, assistant director of the U.S. Secret Service's office of investigations.

Merritt, in testimony prepared for the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, said that as larger companies have taken on more sophisticated computer network protections, have adapted and gone after the smaller businesses who do not have such high-level security.

Phil Reitinger, the deputy under secretary at the Department of Homeland Security said there are many simple steps that businesses can take to protect themselves.

"Securing the entrances of one's factory or store is second nature to any business owner and so protections must become," he said in his testimony to the panel. He added that a recent study suggested that as many as 87 percent of data breaches could be avoided by installing simple to intermediate preventative measures.

Reitinger and Merritt said government agencies are working to coordinate more both with each other and with the private sector to improve cyber security.

But lawmakers working on cyber security legislation in several committees across Capitol Hill are pressing for the administration to do more.

"Security cannot be achieved by the government alone," said Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, I-Conn. and chairman of the homeland security panel. "Public-private partnership is essential. Together, business, government, law enforcement, and our foreign allies must partner to mitigate these attacks and bring these criminals to justice."

On the Net:

Department of Homeland Security: http://www.dhs.gov

Secret Service: http://www.secretservice.gov/

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: Tracking your digital fingerprint online raises privacy issues

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

'New arms race' taking shape in cyberspace: Van Loan

May 27, 2009

A "new arms race" is taking shape in cyberspace, Canada's security czar said Wednesday, lamenting ever bolder and more sophisticated attacks on government websites by Russia, China and others.

Top US cybersecurity official quits

Mar 07, 2009

A top US cybersecurity official has quit, complaining in a resignation letter obtained by Wired magazine that US cyber protection efforts are being dominated by the super-secret National Security Agency (NSA).

US wants privacy in new cyber security system

Jul 03, 2009

(AP) -- The Obama administration is moving cautiously on a new pilot program that would both detect and stop cyber attacks against government computers, while trying to ensure citizen privacy protections.

Cyber criminals cloak their tracks

Feb 13, 2008

The 2007 X-Force Security report from IBM finds a disturbing rise in the sophistication of attacks by criminals on Web browsers worldwide. According to IBM, by attacking the browsers of computer users, cyber criminals are ...

Recommended for you

T-Mobile deal helps Rhapsody hit 2M paying subs

6 hours ago

(AP)—Rhapsody International Inc. said Tuesday its partnership with T-Mobile US Inc. has helped boost its number of paying subscribers to more than 2 million, up from 1.7 million in April.

Airbnb woos business travelers

6 hours ago

Airbnb on Monday set out to woo business travelers to its service that lets people turn unused rooms in homes into de facto hotel space.

Google searches hold key to future market crashes

17 hours ago

A team of researchers from Warwick Business School and Boston University have developed a method to automatically identify topics that people search for on Google before subsequent stock market falls.

User comments : 0