Why Small-Business Owners Are Easy Prey for Hackers

Randell Heath isn’t sure how hackers got into his company’s website — all he knows is a supplier called, saying the site had become an online store selling Viagra and Cialis.

The problem might have been at the company that hosts the site. It might have been that Heath’s passwords weren’t strong enough. But the invasion taught Heath a lesson that computer experts say many small-business owners still need: Keeping your company’s computers and online sites safe isn’t a one-time operation, but requires continual vigilance as new kinds of attacks emerge.

“I’m planning on attending a ‘Cybersecurity for Small Business‘ briefing,” says Heath, president of Coldsweep, a Mountain Green, Utah-based company that uses dry ice to clean surfaces.

The chances of a small business being invaded, of having computers, smartphones, tablets, and even bank accounts hacked because of poor cybersecurity, are rapidly growing. And some of the very things small businesses are encouraged to do to make themselves more visible, like having blogs, can also make them more vulnerable.

Symantec, a maker of computer-security software, analyzed threats and cyberattacks that its network encountered and found that 43 percent of all cyberattacks in 2015 targeted small businesses.

Just from 2014 to 2015, Symantec saw a 36 percent increase in new malware, and a nearly 80 percent increase in new variations of

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