Symantec is reporting a significant uptick in targeted attacks against SMBs (small- and medium-sized businesses) in the first half of 2012 with about 36 percent of all targeted attacks hitting businesses with 250 or fewer employees.
According to the Symantec Intelligence Report (download PDF) the 36 percent number is up from 18 percent at the end of December 2011.
"50% of attacks focused on companies with less than 2500 employees," the report added, noting that it's possible that smaller companies are now being targeted as a stepping stone to a larger organization because they may be in the partner ecosystem and less well-defended.
"Targeted attacks are a risk for businesses of all sizes – no one is immune to these attacks," the company warned.
While this upsurge against SMBs is significant, Symantec says large enterprises consisting of more than 2,500 employees are still receiving the greatest number of attacks, with an average 69 being blocked each day.
The company said the defense industry has been the "targeted industry of choice" in the first half of 2012, with an average of 7.3 attacks per day. This fits into the public reports on APTs (advanced persistent threats) that use highly customized tools and intrusion techniques and use stealthy, patient, persistent methods to reduce the risk of detection.