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Nearly half of business owners unaware they were victims of cyberattacks

Nearly half of business owners unaware they were victims of cyberattacks
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Nearly half of U.S. business owners surveyed in new research were unaware that their businesses were victims of cyberattacks, according to data released by Nationwide, suggesting a lack of knowledge of what actually constitutes a cyberattack. 

Thirteen percent of U.S. business owners surveyed by the insurance company reported that their businesses were victims of a cyberattack. The statistic grew to 58 percent when business owners were given a list of cyberattacks to review, meaning that 45 percent identified their businesses as victims only after understanding which incidents are classified as cyberattacks. 

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Among those who identified themselves as victims, the most common types of attacks were computer viruses, followed by phishing scams, Trojan horses, hacks and data breaches, among other less-common types of attacks.

Meanwhile, roughly three-quarters of business owners said that they believe their businesses are unlikely to be affected by a cyberattack. 

The statistics are included in Nationwide’s 2017 Business Owners Attitudes and Usage Study, which was released on Tuesday. 

Nationwide surveyed 1,069 U.S. business owners who have 1,300 or more employees and are representative of the general population in terms of age and gender.

According to the cybersecurity-focused section of the research, 57 percent of U.S. business owners surveyed said that they do not have a dedicated employee to monitor for cyberattacks, while 37 percent do. The top reasons for not having such an employee are the cost and the belief that their businesses will not be targeted.

Forty-one percent of business owners polled said that cyberattacks more often affect large businesses than small ones. 

Cyberattacks targeting small businesses have increasingly been a focus among lawmakers on Capitol Hill, as they debate legislative efforts to help small businesses prevent and mitigate cyber incidents.