.Small Biz Targeted by Cyber Attacks

In 2023, the United States witnessed over 2,116 data breaches across various industries, affecting more than 233.9 million individuals. Recently, Blue Shield California, based in Oakland, faced a breach in which consumer data was stolen, potentially impacting thousands of its members.

Unfortunately, these breaches involve illegal access, copying and/or theft of sensitive and confidential data. The consequences impact hardworking individuals, families, and large and small businesses.

While we often hear about data breaches on big companies, like the recent cyber attack on Xfinity, the reality is that small businesses are typically the prime targets for data breaches to occur. On average, a single data breach costs small businesses $200,000, with 60% of affected businesses closing their doors within six months of a cyber attack.

In 2024, we face an even greater threat. Over $5 trillion in damages is expected due to targeted cyber attacks, many of which are now fueled by artificial intelligence. Hackers leverage AI to create convincing content that deceives business owners into disclosing sensitive information. This information is then used to hold businesses hostage, demanding hefty ransoms.

Using AI in phishing tactics has made cyber criminals more sophisticated and dangerous. Hackers increasingly utilize AI to automate phishing, malware and credential-stuffing attacks.

While the rise of AI-enabled cyber attacks is alarming, there are steps we can take to protect ourselves and our businesses. Implementing 2-step verification, using antivirus software on all devices, verifying website URLs and remaining vigilant against phishing scams are essential. Logging off when not in use and reviewing and adjusting privacy settings are crucial in safeguarding your digital identity.

California has one of the nation’s most comprehensive and consumer-friendly laws. Consumers in the Golden State can sue tech and online companies if their private, personal information, such as Social Security numbers and email addresses, is stolen during a data breach.

Stay informed, stay vigilant and take action to defend your digital world. The time to act is now.

Oscar De La Rosa is the founder and lead attorney at De La Rosa Law.

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