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Cyber Security for Hawaii’s Small Business


Big data breaches at major corporations make headlines, but small business are also vulnerable to attack—including here in Hawaii.

Yahoo, Marriott International, Equifax, Target — combined, these household names have been breached in recent years by hackers in incidents that compromised billions of user records.

According to data from tech firm Cisco Systems In. 53% of mid-sized businesses have  experienced a cyber breach with costs to recover from an incident as high as $2.5 million. Attacks are common and widespread — the Federal Bureau of Investigation reports that in 2018, there were more than 350,000 cyberattacks on businesses of all sizes, at a total cost of $2.7 billion.

It happens locally, too.  One of those 350,000 cyberattacks last year hit Zippy’s, lifting customer credit card info. Maui Brewing Co. was very nearly hit with a phishing scam, in which someone impersonating founder Garrett Marrero attempting to get employees to wire money for brewing supplies. Fortunately, this was detected in time.

Chuck Lerch, CEO of Hi Tech Hui, says the costs of being breached range from reputational to financial, and include cleaning up the business’s network, adding new security measures, doing forensics to determine the extent of the damage, and legal fees.

Attacks have become gutsier. Businesses now have to beware of ransomware, in which hackers will lock a business out of its own computer system, releasing a digital key only after a ransom is paid.

A. Kam Napier is the editor-in-chief of Pacific Business News.
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