Michael Hopkins and Cate Costa's startup OnlyHonest.com was just about to hit its one-year anniversary when it became the victim of a nefarious cyberattack.
It was a tremendous setback to the business that was gaining traction with users, social media networks and advertisers, said Hopkins. The website allowed users to debate one another on political topics through video uploads.
In late March, a group claiming to be affiliated with hacker group Anonymous defaced the website, spreading to every page. When Hopkins tried to get the digital graffiti removed, the attacks escalated. At one point, the hackers were redirecting all of OnlyHonest's traffic to another site.
Earlier this month, Hopkins and Costa were forced to take down the website, which already had attracted hundred of user videos and had 10,000 Twitter followers. The business partners are now struggling to secure funding to make the website secure again before they try to relaunch it.
"We've lost weeks of business and it could cost us thousands of dollars to rebuild the site," said Hopkins. "We don't have the money but we're not giving up yet."
"This cyberattack has the potential to completely destroy everything we've been able to build so far," said Costa."We hope this isn't the case."
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.