Is The Savings Worth All Your Money?

Don’t have enough money in the budget for adequate QA, including penetration testing? How much do you have in your total bank account, then? Hackers Shift Attacks to Small Firms:

Recent hacking attacks on Sony Corp. and Lockheed Martin Corp. grabbed headlines. What happened at City Newsstand Inc. last year did not.

Unbeknownst to owner Joe Angelastri, cyber thieves planted a software program on the cash registers at his two Chicago-area magazine shops that sent customer credit-card numbers to Russia. MasterCard Inc. demanded an investigation, at Mr. Angelastri’s expense, and the whole ordeal left him out about $22,000.

His experience highlights a growing threat to small businesses. Hackers are expanding their sights beyond multinationals to include any business that stores data in electronic form. Small companies, which are making the leap to computerized systems and digital records, have now become hackers’ main target.

“Who would want to break into us?” asked Mr. Angelastri, who says the breach cut his annual profit in half. “We’re not running a bank.”

With limited budgets and few or no technical experts on staff, small businesses generally have weak security.

The story lists a number of people and businesses who have run into serious financial difficulty or ruin after someone attacked their small businesses.

Unfortunately, in a lot of these cases, the small businesses are buying off-the-shelf solutions from vendors who themselves are small businesses that do not budget QA into their software development, which adds a layer of abstraction to the problem since the people who are ultimately on the hook don’t know the questions to ask and the people who do know don’t suffer directly from cutting out the QA man and passing those savings onto you.

If you plan to buy some software from a small vendor, it would behoove you to ask about their quality assurance and testing practices. Especially if you’re hooking that software up to your bank account.

Also, it might not be a bad idea to hire some technical support help or have the guy at your local computer shop stop by and secure your PCs, too.

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