Eric Erickson's online business selling eco-friendly pest control products was victimized by cyberattacks twice in the last four years.
In 2009, a customer who was trying to buy one of his products informed Erickson that he got a virus alert when he was on his website.
"Back then, we were getting 500 to 700 hits on out site every month," said Erickson. "I can't imagine how many potential customers saw that alert and turned away."
Erickson's site was effectively down for four weeks. Then, Google (Fortune 500) "blacklisted" his site. The search engine began to post a big warning screen when Web searchers navigated to the site, notifying people that it was infected with malware. ,
Erickson spent $1,500 to rebuild his site with enhanced security measures. He also spent a considerable amount of time with Google's appeals process to get his site relisted -- a process that took three months.
"The whole experience crushed us," he said "Our revenue dropped significantly."
Then, last month, it happened again: a virus was detected on the site. The good news was Erickson had purchased technology to contain and get rid of the infection.
"Most small businesses can't afford to spend $1,500 like we had to," said Erickson. "A single cyberattack can render an online business totally useless, even bankrupt a company."
As cyberattacks on small businesses surge, experts say companies have to fight back or risk losing businesses in the long run, according to latest industry reports.