By hacking into a business's computers, criminals can steal financial information and trade secrets. The breaches can hurt a business's reputation and expose it to legal liability.
Genachowski said criminals target small businesses because they often lack the strong cybersecurity standards of large corporations.
"Small businesses that don’t take protective measures are particularly vulnerable targets for cyber criminals. With larger companies increasing their protections, small businesses are now the low-hanging fruit for cyber criminals," he said.
According to a study released Monday by Symantec and the National Cyber Security Alliance, only 52 percent of small businesses have a cybersecurity strategy.
Former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, the co-founder of risk management firm The Chertoff Group, praised the initiative and urged small businesses to take cybersecurity seriously.
"Not to consider cybersecurity is a little bit like leaving your money around on a table and thinking that's not going to be a problem," Chertoff said.