Kent Shuart, product marketing manager at Dell SonicWALL, told the audience at the NRF's annual conference that cyber gangs aren't just interested in big companies.
Kent Shuart, product marketing manager at Dell SonicWALL, told the audience at the NRF's annual conference that cyber gangs aren't just interested in big companies.

Small businesses and retailers should expect cybercriminals to pay extra attention to them in the coming months with ransomware and point of sale attacks becoming even more common, according to Kent Shuart, product marketing manager at Dell SonicWALL.

Shuart, who spoke during the National Retail Federation's annual gathering in New York City earlier this week, tried to dispel the belief that cyber gangs only want to go after the big dogs like Target and Home Depot.

“The average small retailer has 50,000 credit cards in their system that can sell for between $5 and $10 each on the dark web, meaning you are a very good target,” he said.

As lucrative as this type of crime is, Shuart foresees ransomware attacks taking center stage in 2016 for SMBs, Internet of Things owners and even the auto industry because these targets have low levels of security making them easy prey.

Shuart warned that ransomware are becoming more sophisticated which endangers the average small business that might rely on outdated technology to protect its critical data. Such an attack can be catastrophic to a mom and pop, he said, noting that 60 percent of small and medium businesses that are breached in some manner go out of business.

Shuart pointed out that retailers and other businesses have to step up their game to match that of their opponents and he suggested the most effective method to do so is bring in a third-party security expert. This will enable a smaller company with a limited budget to protect itself without having to create and maintain an expensive internal IT team.