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Cyberattacks are on the rise, and that includes small businesses. Here's what to know

FILE - A person works on a laptop in North Andover, Mass., on June 19, 2017. (Elise Amendola / AP Photo, File) FILE - A person works on a laptop in North Andover, Mass., on June 19, 2017. (Elise Amendola / AP Photo, File)

Cyberattacks on businesses are rising, including small businesses. It's a troubling trend because a breach can be very costly and time consuming if owners don't have a plan to deal with one.

According to the Verizon 2023 Data Breach Investigations Report, the median cost per ransomware attack — which features a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid — more than doubled over the past two years to US$26,000.

That's partly because there has been a dramatic increase in ransomware attacks, which represent 24 per cent of all breaches.

Small businesses should first have a plan in place to prevent cyberattacks. The human element is the cause of 74 per cent of breaches, so owners should make sure all of their employees use safeguards such as two-factor identification to make it harder to be hacked. Requiring employees to regularly change their passwords can also help.

If your business has been breached, it's best to work with a cybersecurity executive within your company or a trusted third party to assess what happened and the damage done. Trying to contain it without having the right technical knowledge can just make things worse.

It's also important to let the authorities know what happened. Attacks must be reported to federal authorities within 72 hours after a company is reasonably sure one has occurred. Top Stories

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