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41% of European SMEs Experienced a Phishing Attack in 2020

According to the data presented by the Atlas VPN team, phishing and web-based attacks were the most common among Europe’s small and medium enterprises last year.

Phishing attacks were the most popular as 41% of SMEs claimed to have experienced such a threat. This type of attack has become extremely popular due to remote work.

The second most common type of attack was web-based — 40% of SMEs got hit by it. As small businesses do not have as many resources as bigger companies, they do not allocate their assets to secure web applications better, so hackers can find vulnerabilities easier.

Next up, 39% of SMEs suffered from a general malware attack. Many small companies underrate the possibility of an attack happening to them due to their size. However, that is precisely what hackers search for, as they can get quick money with a ransomware threat from lesser secured SMEs.

Malicious insiders were a threat to 19% of small and medium companies. Otherwise known as turncloak is someone who abuses legitimate credentials to gain financial or personal benefits.

Denial of service attacks struck 12% of European SMEs. The point of such attacks is to disrupt a business’s website so it would not be accessible.

Cybersecurity writer and researcher at Atlas VPN William Sword shares his thoughts about cyberattacks on SMEs: “Pandemic caught SMEs unprepared, as they have fallen victims for quite simple and non-sophisticated cyberattacks. This is a signal for European SMEs to tackle this issue more seriously and work on educational programs for the employees.”


  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

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