Small businesses often consider themselves immune to the virus problems facing other people. After all, it seems like most viruses either target big corporations with hundreds of millions of dollars of assets at play, or they target the individual consumer with credit card info on their computer.

Well, it looks like small business owners are no longer immune from the world’s virus attacks – not that they ever were immune. A report recently published by antivirus giant Symantec claimed that virus attacks on small businesses increased threefold over the past year.

To make matters worse, these attacks weren’t random: instead, small businesses are being specifically targeted by hackers who have done their research and identified security vulnerabilities.

Hackers are looking for credit card information, banking data, and all other personal information stored on a small business’s computers and networks. When they find this information, they can do an astonishing amount of damage to a business and its employees, including identity theft.

A spokesperson for Symantec explained why small businesses are increasingly at-risk:

“While small businesses may feel they are immune to targeted attacks, cybercriminals are enticed by these organizations’ bank account information, customer data, intellectual property, and the knowledge that they often lack adequate security practices and infrastructures.”

In the eyes of Symantec, small businesses are those with fewer than 250 employees. Targeted attacks against these organizations jumped 31% in 2012 when compared to the year before, with an overall increase of 42% in terms of overall targeted attacks.

You can read the full report published by Symantec here

How to protect your small business


-Educate employees on internet safety. All it takes is one weak link in the chain and suddenly an employee has installed malicious software onto one of the network’s computers. Even the largest and most secure corporate networks have been attacked in this way.

-Install antivirus software and run it at all times on all computers

-Perform a scan with PC Cleaner Pro to identify any latent threats that may exist on your computer’s hard drive, like in its registry

Use different passwords for every business account you operate in order to contain security threats if the network is breached

Update your computers, including Windows, software, and all hardware drivers, whenever you are prompted

If you can do all of the things listed above, you can significantly reduce your chances of being the victim of a targeted attack.

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