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News & Press: FOCUS

Small Business at Risk for Cyber Attacks

Wednesday, March 7, 2018  
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Small business are increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks according to an MSU Professor who is an expert in cyber crime. Dr. Thomas Holt made his remarks during the January 23 Economic Club luncheon. Holt said that special interest groups that want to make a statement could attack the web sites of small businesses.

“Small businesses are the perfect platform to attack depending on what you produce,” said Professor Holt.

Other trends Holt sees on the cyber front in 2018 are an increase in ransomware attacks in which a computer system is infected and all of its files are corrupted. The only way to free up the files is for the consumer to pay off the hacker.

“All the information that is important to you, whether it is photos, graphics, work files or whatever, are a potential target for ransomware,” said Professor Holt.

Dr. Thomas J. Holt, Professor, School of Criminal Justice, Michigan State University, addresses a sold out crowd at January's Lansing Economic Club

Cyber-attacks on U.S. interests by nation-states are likely to increase amid election year political turmoil according to Professor Holt. He told the crowd that rival nations see cyber attacks as a way of forcing change on the U.S. He also noted that domestic political rhetoric, including the threat of major military retaliation in response to cyber-attacks, makes the cyber landscape even more unsettled.

“It is a threat that is not going away,” said Professor Holt. “It will dictate a lot of public policy.”

As far as good news on the cyber crime front, Professor Holt said there are strong laws and law enforcement agencies in place at both the federal and state level that are making a difference in the war on cyber criminals.

Click here to download the March issue of FOCUS.

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