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Rise in data breaches wreaking havoc on small businesses

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Data breaches not only hurt consumers, but are an expensive nightmare for small businesses, a new study reports.

“Twenty-one percent of small businesses reported a data breach within the last 24 months, up by 17% from two years ago. A full 41% of small businesses said they were hit by a breach that cost them more than $50,000 to recover,” according to the Bank of America Merchant Services Third Annual Small Business Spotlight.

These continuing breaches could threaten the survival of the average small business, the study found. That’s because “30% of consumers surveyed revealed they would never return to a small business that suffered a breach, up from 20% two years ago.”

A total of 522 US-based small businesses and 509 consumers who patronize small firms were surveyed about breaches for the report.

“The breaches continue to rise because crooks are smart and find unique ways to work the system to their advantage,” explained credit-card industry expert Bill Hardekopf, CEO of Low Cards.com.

“When card issuers or payment processors close one loophole, crooks find another. Cyber criminals are smart,” Hardekopf added.

He advises consumers to check card statements each month. Thieves often place a small transaction that is overlooked, he said. “But if that goes through,” Hardekopf added, “then they put through a much larger transaction.”

And with more people conducting business through mobile devices, criminals are running up big bills, especially in the US, another report says.

The average cost of a data breach globally is $3.92 million, but in the US it is double that at $8.19 million, according to the IBM Security & Ponemon Institute’s Cost of a Data Breach Report 2019.

And it takes an average of 279 days just to identify a breach, the report said. The damage is “felt for years after the event.”


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