Small businesses more vulnerable to cyberattacks

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Major hacks into businesses nationwide are becoming more and more common.

The Better Business Bureau said it could hurt small businesses the most.

The report released on Thursday shows about half of small businesses could not stay open for more than a month if they were attacked.

The threat of an attack is growing for all businesses, but the report shows a lot of small businesses could not stay profitable if they lost all that critical data.

"You think about small businesses, they would be overwhelmed with some of these more sophisticated actors," U.S. Congressman Mac Thornberry said. "Of course they could not only steal their information, but the effect would be to put them out of business."

It's something Congressman Thornberry saw as a potential issue in 2004 when he worked to help develop a system to harden small businesses, individuals, and come up with a way to recover lost information.

"Unfortunately all of that has been much slower to develop than it should have been," he said.

Because of that, he believes the threat is advancing faster than our protection and defense efforts can.

Jessica Edwards owns Frank and Joe's Coffee House and said she's confident in their system.

But if it was hacked it would affect more than just her business.

"If we were to be hacked so many other small businesses would be hacked it would be a big epidemic," she said.

And Edwards thinks those effects would have serious consequences.

"We just recently had a power outage where we couldn't have income half the day and it cost us a lot of money," Edwards said. "So if we would not be able to swipe cards or if people were scared to use cards, it would be a huge devastation."

Congressman Thornberry said even some of the biggest businesses could not withstand a hack, but small businesses are the most prone.

"Some small businesses, especially those who feed the defense and industrial base, are certainly a target these days because they are seen as more vulnerable than some of the big integrators in the defense community," he said.

Congressman Thornberry said businesses need to apply what's called good hygiene.

That includes basic steps like constantly changing passwords. But he added the threat is across the board and all business owners need to be aware of that.

Edwards said it's important to have the right system in place to help reduce your risk of getting hacked.

Congressman Thornberry said people should be aware of cyber attacks even on their home computers.

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