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McAfee Prediction Report Forecasts Rise in Mobile Attacks With fewer adept security teams, small businesses are becoming more attractive targets for cybercriminals.

By Benjamin Kabin

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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As tablets and smartphones become increasingly integrated into our daily work and personal lives, cybercriminals are ramping up their efforts to attack mobile devices. And for small businesses, protecting mobile data is more important than ever.

McAfee Labs 2014 Predictions Report forecasts a rise in ransomware, in particular, as virtual currencies like Bitcoin gain popularity. The report also predicts that hackers and other online miscreants will continue to aggressively mine social networks for personal information in order to commit ID fraud or steal intellectual property.

Related: Your Password is 123456? Wow, Seriously?

Unlike big banks and corporations with armies of engineers dedicated to thwarting cyberattacks, small business' security is usually much easier to crack. And, according to McAfee's global SMB leader, Bill Rielly, cyberthieves know this, often making the small guy a more attractive target.

Email is one of the main starting points for many cyberattacks, Rielly says. And now that almost everyone has email and a VPN connection on their phone if a device is stolen it can become a companywide disaster. If a phone falls into the wrong hands, they could easily wreak havoc with access to emails, the company's secure network and apps linked to personal, corporate financial accounts and social media accounts. Protecting those devices with a passcode in order to keep private information private is of the upmost importance.

Related: On Hack, Snapchat Founder Says 'We Thought We Had Done Enough'

Obviously, it's also important to keep devices from being compromised by malicious content that comes from an email or the web.

"Cyber criminals know that when people get emails that look interesting or have provocative titles or subject lines, they'll click on them," Rielly says. "Make sure you have a solution in place to prevent malicious emails from getting to your employees' phones, tablets and computers ... If you take out the malicious apps through web or email protection your eliminating a big part of the problem."

If your company does fall victim to a cyberattack, the odds aren't great. Rielly says that six out of 10 small businesses that take a hit as a result of a cyberattack end up going out of business.

In order to avoid that Rielly says there are several things business owners need to do quickly and almost simultaneously.

Related: Judge Says NSA Surveillance Is Constitutional

Benjamin Kabin

Journalist

Benjamin Kabin is a Brooklyn-based technology journalist who specializes in security, startups, venture capital and social media.

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