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Cyberattacks Have Lasting Impacts on Small Businesses, Local Governments

Just as a storm can have a lasting impact on a community, cybersecurity experts say cyberattacks on small businesses and local governments can often leave a lasting path of destruction, making it difficult even after the affected have recuperated.

For example, Symantec's Modern OS Security team released findings in early July that exposed a long-term effect one particular cyberattack had on small businesses. Described as a "security flaw," a Symantec blog post states messaging apps WhatsApp and Telegram can expose confidential information from businesses that use the apps to share documents such as invoices.

"It stems from the lapse in time between when media files received through the apps are written to the disk, and when they are loaded in the apps' chat user interface (UI) for users to consume," the blog states. "This critical time lapse presents an opportunity for malicious actors to intervene and manipulate media files without the user's knowledge."

This can raise issues when customers review invoices and notice unfamiliar changes.

Meanwhile, local governments are experiencing similar issues. According to PYMNTS.com, a ransomware attack struck the city of Riviera Beach, Florida, in June. The city government then had to paid the attacker $460,000 to regain access to its system, with insurance only covering $10,000.

"Americans are getting their identities stolen every two seconds," information security consultant Ron Bush said in a news article with NWI.com regarding the ransomware attack. "We're at war and don't realize it. They attack every industry you can think of."

—Andrew Michaels, editorial associate

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Monday, 14 October 2019