This is Why BBB Launched New Cyber Crime Initiative to Combat Growing Attacks on Businesses

July 05, 2017

Thomas Johnson, Director of Public and Board Relations,
Better Business Bureau Serving Chicago & Northern Illinois,, 312-245-2643  

Judith Ruiz-Branch, PR & Community Outreach Coordinator,
Better Business Bureau Serving Chicago & Northern Illinois,, 312-245-2516

This is Why BBB Launched New Cyber Crime Initiative to Combat Growing Attacks on Businesses

The U.S. Government has identified cyber crime as “one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation,” with a global estimated cost of $400 billion. Forbes reported from 2013 to 2015 cyber crime costs quadrupled. Experts predict those numbers will only continue to rise with costs estimated to reach over $2 trillion by 2019, according to Forbes. 

Just last week, it was the new widespread ransomware dubbed "Petya" that shut down company software overseas and in the U.S., and this week, Mondelez International announced that a cyberattack on June 27, that prevented the company from shipping and invoicing, will shave off three percent of its second quarter revenue growth.

This is why BBB of Chicago and Northern Illinois launched a new initiative to help crack down on the epidemic of cyber crime against businesses including free workshops and training.

Our next free cyber crime workshop will be held on July 21 at 9:30am at City Hall on the 8th floor. Anyone representing any Chicagoland business is welcome to attend. Please email to register.

The odds of a cyber-attack are 1 in 4 for businesses of less than 25 employees and 1 in 3 for businesses of 25 or more employees. Experts say the United States is probably the biggest and softest target with the majority of businesses willing to pay the ransom cyber criminals demand. Specifically, 64 percent of Americans cave in to digital extortion, compared to 34 percent globally. The average ransom spiked 266 percent, with criminals demanding an average of $1,077 per victim, according to Symantec, BBB’s strategic partner in the fight against cyber crime.

A new BBB study found that a whopping 77% of small business owners believe their company is not at risk for cyber-threats. To address these staggering figures, BBB partnered with the National Cyber Security Alliance to compile a group of local experts that can educate and arm business owners.

BBB considers the developing information about the threat of cyber crime so important that it held a cyber crime speakers event on May 2, which sparked a series of requests for more speakers. BBB’s Cyber Crime speakers cover all facets of cyber crime from cyber insurance to cyber law, and strategies to prevent and develop a plan to deal with the rapid escalation of attacks, which includes BBB's 5 Steps to Better Business Cybersecurity Training.

BBB has met with high-level organizations in Washington D.C. and a series of agencies in a joint effort to assemble a panel that consists of the highest level of experts in the field of cyber crime. Our experts are available to go out and speak to community groups and businesses to help create a culture of cybersecurity.  

Cyber Crime in American Business Facts:

  • The odds of a cyber-attack are 1 in 4 for businesses of less than 25 employees and 1 in 3 for businesses of 25 or more employees.

  • In 2015, 43% of all cyber crimes were directed at small businesses, according to Symantec.
  • The National Small Business Association says cyber-attacks cost an average of $32,021 for firms whose business banking accounts were hacked, $7,115 on average for small businesses overall, and as much as $188,242 for a small or midsize business.
  • 7 of 10 businesses consider it unlikely that their business will suffer a cyber-attack. (e.g. phishing resulting in stolen credentials, ransomware, etc.) in next 24 months - AND - believe their bank will cover losses should they be hit. However, the burden of proof lies with businesses – not banks - concerning losses due to cybercrime.

  • BBB believes the focus should be on small businesses since they make up more than 97% of the total businesses in North America, according to SBA, and are generally more affected financially by a cyber-attack than larger businesses. Small businesses are often targeted by cybercriminals as gateways into larger corporations.

  • BBB’s newest findings confirm that the smaller the business, the more they would benefit from additional protections against cyber-threats. However, all businesses are at risk and should take precaution.


"Cybersecurity is a growing concern for individuals and businesses," said Steve Bernas, president and CEO of Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. "While Information about cybersecurity can be overwhelming, we want to bring in experts to break down an approachable plan for protection, and for our local businesses to think about how to protect their information before a data breach happens."

Any businesses encountering any attempts of cyber crime please report it immediately to our cyber crime team at You can also contact our team via email if you would like to book our cyber crime experts to come out and speak at your organization/audience of 25 people or more.

For additional information visit BBB's Cybersecurity Resource Website. 

If you encounter any type of business or consumer scam please report it to BBB Scam Tracker.

Search our databases anytime at no cost to find trustworthy businesses and valuable consumer information. Visit Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2016, people turned to BBB more than 167 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.2 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for the local, independent BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico, as well as home to its national and international programs on dispute resolution, advertising review, and industry self-regulation. BBB Serving Chicago and Northern Illinois serves 19 counties in Illinois.