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Small businesses ‘underestimate cyber threat’

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SMEs do not fully understand the threat of cyber attacks and the potential damage inflicted, a survey by Chubb reveals.

It also shows that many business owners are snubbing cyber cover, which could be a crucial part of recovery.

The survey of 1000 SMEs across the Asia-Pacific region, including 400 in Australia, shows 60% believe they are less vulnerable to cyber incidents than their larger competitors.

But Cyber Underwriting Manager for Chubb Asia-Pacific Andrew Taylor told insuranceNEWS.com.au the opposite is true.

He says smaller businesses lack the protections bigger corporates enjoy, with the misconception stemming from media reports of large-scale cyber attacks.

“The press does show a lot of larger companies being breached, but the statistics show smaller businesses are being attacked more often,” he said.

“SMEs are the low-hanging fruit because they don’t have the resources to defend an attack, but they do hold data relating to larger organisations.

“They often don’t realise the value of the data they have.”

About 87% of respondents believe they can overcome an incident, with 56% believing they can contain an incident within 12 hours.

These findings are contradicted by SMEs that have suffered cyber attacks.

About 60% of respondents experienced a cyber incident in the past year and 67% of all respondents admit they are unaware of all the cyber threats they face.

Significantly, 30% of SMEs that experienced cyber incidents do not know which of their data files was affected.

“Some SMEs believe they are too small to be targeted by cyber criminals or any internal issues will not greatly impact them,” Mr Taylor said.

“In effect, they think they are too small to fail. However, our own claims data highlights numerous small business compromises and ransomware events that are decimating the cashflow of small businesses.”

The survey also uncovers a lack of understanding from SMEs regarding cyber insurance, with 59% in Australia not fully understanding the solutions available to them, while 62% have never bought cyber cover before.

“Cyber-cover pricing is very affordable and at Chubb we offer a platform of services beyond just the cover,” Mr Taylor told insuranceNEWS.com.au.

He says some business owners do not realise many cyber incidents are not covered by traditional business insurance. “For example, business interruption doesn’t respond to a non-tangible event such as a ransomware attack.”