CHICAGO (CBS) — A new report shows small businesses are being targeted by hackers, and left to deal with a cybersecurity breach.
Three out of four business owners said they’ve been hit within the last year.
CBS 2’s Joe Donlon spoke to one woman about the devastating impacts.
Pearle Northrup is an artist, and her canvas includes everything from ornaments to plates, even a decorative skull.
“When I have a space, and I start painting it, I don’t stop until I’ve filled the entirety of it,” she said.
She used Facebook to promote her colorful creations, and one morning received a notification about a problem with the account.
“And if I didn’t provide my information, they would delete my account immediately,” Northrup said.
Northrup clicked on a link and entered her login information.
It was a scam, and in minutes a hacker took over both her personal and business Facebook pages, racking up charges to her business account.
“It was a mixture of, ‘Oh, my gosh! I can’t believe I fell for that,’ and like I just wanted to get my page back,” she said.
Northrup is far from alone. A new report shows 73% of small businesses suffered a cybersecurity incident in the past year.
“The number of small businesses being attacked has grown tremendously over the last three years,” said James Lee, chief operating officer of the Identity Theft Resource Center.
Lee said criminals often target a company’s network to get customer data and money. More than 40% of small businesses said they lost revenue in an attack.
“The main thing any small business needs to do is make sure you have an outside advisor helping you with your cybersecurity. It’s just too complex to go on your own,” Lee said.
After an involved process, Northrup eventually regained control of her business account, and Facebook waived charges the hacker had made.
“It was just, it was scary,” she said.
She now uses social media sparingly to promote her business, and lives with the fear she could be hacked again.