What Do Hackers Want when They Target a Small Business?

What Do Hackers Want when They Target a Small Business?

Did you know that half of all cyberattacks target small businesses? Yet despite this sobering fact, many small-business leaders wrongfully assume that hackers go only for big corporations. Bigger targets may mean bigger rewards, but the fact that hackers are just as likely to target small businesses comes down to the fact that they’re much easier to compromise because their IT security measures often don't receive enough attention.

Although any business, no matter its size, can become a target, the tendency to opt for lesser targets presents a rapidly growing trend in the world of cybersecurity. You might think that your business isn’t worth targeting, but you’d be mistaken. In reality, hackers attack organizations just like yours daily, and here are reasons why they are setting their sights on you:

Financial Gain

Unsurprisingly, most data breaches and other attacks are carried out for financial gain. By hacking into your systems and gaining access to confidential data, hackers can either hold your business to ransom or steal valuable data, such as payment and login information, outright.

Hackers are typically interested in targeting high-value corporate data that should be protected by multiple layers of security but isn’t. They use many different methods to achieve this, including malicious software, simple phishing/confidence scams, or a combination of both.

Regardless of whether their methods are technical or based on human error, even the smallest businesses store information that will directly translate into financial gain for anyone who steals it.

Although many hackers go straight for credit card information, social security numbers and logins, other attacks don’t involve the theft of any information at all. For example, cyberextortion, typically carried out by ransomware attacks, such as last year’s WannaCry and Petya attacks, involves encrypting your data and then demanding payment for access to your own files.

Information for other attacks

Although usernames and passwords are often stolen because they grant access to payment details, they might be used for other means. Namely, impersonating you or someone from your business. This scam could be carried out in a number of ways:

  • If a hacker logged into a CEO’s account, the hacker could ask employees to do just about anything.
  • If a customer service account were compromised, hackers could use it to message customers and defraud them.
  • Finally, hackers could leverage the trust associated with either type of account to elicit login information from bigger targets.

Being a pawn in a scam may not seem as bad as having the company credit card stolen, but it will result in a data breach that you are legally required to publicly announce and investigate. A data breach will cost you a lot of money and significantly impact your reputation.


Believe it or not, not all hackers are in the market for financial gain. Sometimes, they’re interested only in causing maximum disruption to their victims without stealing any corporate information. Such attacks might be carried out as a form of protest or by an unscrupulous competitor trying to get an advantage over your business. Some attacks have no solid reasoning behind them at all and might just be carried out by skilled trolls or so-called ‘script kiddies’ for the sake of building their reputation.

Easily the most common form of cyberattack designed to cause maximum disruption is an attack that overwhelms a server with more requests that it can process. For example, imagine what would happen if 10,000 people tried to access your website at once when it can only handle that number of visitors in a whole day. By constantly bombarding a website with requests, it will slow down to the point that it becomes unresponsive and inaccessible to real visitors.

These overwhelming attacks are usually targeted at big-name corporations, governments, and morally dubious businesses. However, your business could become a victim of widespread attack on the infrastructure of the internet itself, such as the 2016 attack that took down Twitter, Netflix, Reddit, and Airbnb all at once.

The most important thing to remember when it comes to network security is that everyone’s a target, and hackers will never stop in their quest to exploit businesses of all types and sizes. That’s why you need the sort of comprehensive IT support that we can offer here at Qoverage. If you’re ready to stop worrying about IT, drop us a line today.