B2B Payments

Barclays Pegs Cost Of SMB Cybercrime At $55.7 Billion

More than $55.7 billion in costs are linked to fraud at small businesses (SMBs) in the U.K. to date, according to new analysis from Barclays and YouGov.

Reports in The Independent on Wednesday (April 25) said cybercrime at small businesses has also led to the loss of as many as 50,000 jobs in the country, and 44 percent of SMBs said they have been targeted by some kind of fraud, with more than a fifth reporting losses from being such a target.

More than a tenth of small firms told researchers they had suffered a cyberattack; more than 8 percent of that group said they had to reduce staff levels to cover the cost of cybercrime.

On average, the cost of fraud on a small business hit $48,700. According to Barclays, much of this loss is linked to crimes like account takeovers and business email compromise scams, in which fraudsters target SMBs’ B2B transactions to steal funds.

“Fraudsters are targeting hardworking entrepreneurs, and in some cases impersonating suppliers and staff, intercepting emails and sending fake invoices,” said Barclays Business Banking Chief Executive Ian Rand in a statement. “The staggering cost of these crimes can stop a small business from investing in new jobs, training or equipment, in turn boosting local economies.”

With the new research, Barclays is launching an initiative in the U.K. to build awareness among small businesses and enhance their cyber-defenses.

“With a rise in online crime, it’s more important than ever that businesses keep an eye on the ball when it comes to cybersecurity,” said Sol Campbell, a former England and Arsenal defender, who is partnering with Barclays on the project. “In business as in football, you have to be strong, versatile and flexible — and as a defender, you need to trust your natural instincts. If an email or call sounds fake, check it.”

Awareness of cyberthreats remains low among small businesses, according to MYOB research. The small business accounting firm’s report, released last year, found 87 percent of small businesses believe their firms are safe from a cyberattack, though about half said they plan to improve their cybersecurity efforts. Still, 40 percent said they have no plans to do so.

SMBs most often rely on staff education, software updates and password changes to enhance cybersecurity, MYOB found. More than a third said they know they lack the expertise necessary to address cybersecurity threats.

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