Majority of Small Businesses Believe They are a Target of Cybercriminals, Survey Finds



If you think your small business is at risk of a cyberattack, you’re not paranoid – you’re smartly cautious,  posits Victory State Bank.

Staten Island’s only community-based commercial bank suggests businessowners remain on guard against cyber intrusions. A recently released (Oct. 23, 2019) survey by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) found that an overwhelming majority of small businesses believe that they are a target of cybercriminals, highlighting the growing awareness among this group about the threat of a cyberattack. The Zogby Analytics survey – which was commissioned by NCSA and polled 1,006 small business decision makers – revealed that 88 percent of smaller-sized organizations  believe that they are at least a "somewhat likely" target for cybercriminals, including almost half (46%) who believe they are a "very likely" target.

Released during National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM), the survey showed that with small businesses more aware of a data breach threat, many are responding with strong cybersecurity measures. Almost half (46%) of surveyed businesses feel "very prepared" to respond quickly and appropriately to limit the impact of a data breach or cybersecurity incident, were they to happen today. More than half (58%) say they have a response plan that they can immediately put into action while 36 percent say they would be able to fully operate without computers following a breach. The full survey results can be viewed here:

"Cybersecurity remains a serious threat for businesses and consumers alike, so it is encouraging to see more businesses educating themselves about cybersecurity," said Daniel Eliot, NCSA's director of education & strategic initiatives. "As a result, they are learning that they are not immune to attacks – as many small businesses once believed – and are learning to better protect themselves and their most important assets."

Despite small businesses' increased knowledge about cybersecurity, devastating data breaches are not unheard of. More than a quarter (28%) of survey respondents have experienced an official data breach within the past 12 months. As a result, 37 percent of those suffered a financial loss, 25 percent filed for bankruptcy and 10 percent went out of business.

Other survey highlights include:

  • Larger companies are better prepared for a cyber breach – 73 percent of businesses with 251-500 employees have a response plan that they can immediately put into action and 44 percent would be able to fully operate without computers (for companies with 1-10 employees the respective numbers are 37% and 26%).
  • 51 percent of small business decision makers believes that smartphones pose just as much cyber risk to their organization as computers do, while an additional third (31%) believe they pose more risk.
  • 63 percent have a clearly articulated process for employees to report potential cyberthreats to leadership, and 73 percent have a clearly articulated business process that outlines how employees should securely dispose of equipment and data.
  • 41 percent of businesses back up their business data on a daily basis while almost a quarter (21%) do it multiple times per day.

The National Cyber Security Alliance encourages all businesses to implement a cybersecurity program based on the National Institute of Standards and Technology Cybersecurity Framework:

  • Identify and understand which business assets ("digital crown jewels") others want
  • Learn how to protect those assets
  • Detect when something has gone wrong
  • Respond quickly to minimize impact and implement an action plan
  • Learn what resources are needed to recover after a breach

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) at the Department of Homeland Security, which co-leads NCSAM with NCSA, is conducting a survey on cybersecurity issues in the small and mid-sized business (SMB) community and welcomes organizations' participation. The survey focuses on companies' awareness and use of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework. The voluntary survey addresses companies' familiarity with the Framework, their perceptions regarding potential barriers to using the Framework, their concerns related to cybersecurity, as well as how those concerns rank relative to other business priorities. It also seeks companies' suggestions for strengthening the overall cybersecurity posture of SMBs.

To access the survey, please visit The survey should only take 30 minutes. Questions marked with an asterisk (*) are required. The survey can only be taken survey once, but responses can be edited until the survey is closed on November 11.




Victory State Bank Marks Opening

 of Meiers Corners Branch

Newly opened banking facility is the sixth full-service branch

of the only community-based business bank on Staten Island


STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Victory State Bank marked the opening on Aug. 16 of its sixth full-service branch, a stunning custom-built banking facility at 2055 Victory Blvd.,Meier's Corners.

The new building, where the former Schaffer's Tavern once stood, represents the latest physical expansion of Staten Island’s only community-based commercial bank.

 “We are excited about opening our sixth full-service branch, located at the intersection of Victory Boulevard and Bradley Avenue,” said Raffaele (Ralph) M. Branca, president and CEO of Victory State Bank. “We have a walk-up ATM, night drop, drive-thru and ample parking for our customers. We now have another outlet to deliver our exceptional personal service.”

Victory State Bank began its journey Nov. 17, 1997. Its formation was forged with initial capitalization of $7 million, sold primarily to the residents of Staten Island. In its 10th month of operation, the bank became profitable. Its total assets flourished to the $100 million mark by 2001. Operating since May 2003 under the umbrella of one-bank holding company VSB Bancorp, Inc. (OTCQX: VSBN), the bank’s total equity has since increased to $36.9 million.

“Victory State Bank was launched out of necessity. At the time, Staten Island’s business community lacked adequate local banking services – and something needed to be done to remedy the situation,” said Joseph J. LiBassi, Victory State Bank funder, and chairman of VSB Bancorp, Inc. In establishing the bank, LiBassi sought out some of the borough’s brightest business minds, attracting Joan Nerlino-Caddell, Dr. Carlos Perez, and other local business experts as charter members of the bank’s board.

“It’s thrilling to see the Staten Island business sector thrive in tandem with the bank’s support,” LiBassi said. “Our new, conveniently situated full-service branch in Meiers Corners is yet another example of Victory State Bank’s commitment to providing easily accessible, top-notch banking services.”      

Under the leadership of LiBassi serving as chairman of VSB Bancorp, Inc., from the onset, and Branca as president and CEO of Victory State Bank since November 2007, the new Meiers Corners site has raised the number of the bank’s full-service branches to six, adding to locations in Great Kills (headquarters); West Brighton; St. George; Dongan Hills, and Rosebank. The bank additionally operates a business center in Dongan Hills.

For additional information, Victory State Bank may be reached at 718-979-1100, or visited online at


 Victory State Bank's newly opened full-service Meier's Corners branch stands at the intersection of Victory Boulevard and Bradley Avenue



This release contains forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties. Such risks and uncertainties may include but are not necessarily limited to adverse changes in local, regional or national economic conditions, fluctuations in market interest rates, changes in laws or government regulations, weaknesses of other financial institutions, changes in customer preferences, and changes in competition within our market area. When used in this release or in any other written or oral statements by the Company or its directors, officers or employees, words or phrases such as "will result in," "management expects that," "will continue," "is anticipated," "estimate," "projected," or similar expressions, and other terms used to describe future events, are intended to identify "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 ("PSLRA"). Readers should not place undue reliance on the forward-looking statements, which reflect management's view only as of the date of the statement. The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly revise these forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances. This statement is included for the express purpose of protecting the Company under the PSLRA's safe harbor provisions.



Media Contact: Barton Horowitz

Relevant Public Relations, LLC

Headquarters: 718‑682‑1509

Mobile: 917‑715‑8761

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7 Ways to Protect Your Loved Ones From Cyberbullying



As defined by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), cyberbullying refers to the “practice of using technology to harass, or bully, someone else.”

With the interest of our friends and neighbors in mind, Victory State Bank, the only community-based commercial bank in Staten Island, N.Y., is sharing the following information from CISA, a part of the Department of Homeland Security:

Bullies used to be restricted to methods such as physical intimidation, postal mail, or the telephone. Now, developments in electronic media offer forums such as email, instant messaging, web pages, and digital photos to add to the arsenal. Computers, cell phones, tablets, and other mobile devices are current tools that are being used to conduct an old practice.

Forms of cyberbullying can range in severity from cruel or embarrassing rumors to threats, harassment, or stalking. It can affect any age group; however, teenagers and young adults are common victims, and cyberbullying is a growing problem in schools.

Why has cyberbullying become such a problem?

The relative anonymity of the Internet is appealing for bullies because it enhances the intimidation and makes tracing the activity more difficult. Some bullies also find it easier to be more vicious because there is no personal contact. Unfortunately, the Internet and email can also increase the visibility of the activity. Information or pictures posted online or forwarded in mass emails can reach a larger audience faster than more traditional methods, causing more damage to the victims. And because of the amount of personal information available online, bullies may be able to arbitrarily choose their victims.

Cyberbullying may also indicate a tendency toward more serious behavior. While bullying has always been an unfortunate reality, most bullies grow out of it. Cyberbullying has not existed long enough to have solid research, but there is evidence that it may be an early warning for more violent behavior.

How can you protect yourself or your children?

  • Teach your children good online habits

Explain the risks of technology, and teach children how to be responsible online (see Keeping Children Safe Online for more information). Reduce their risk of becoming cyberbullies by setting guidelines for and monitoring their use of the Internet and other electronic media (cell phones, tablets, etc.).

  • Keep lines of communication open 

Regularly talk to your children about their online activities so that they feel comfortable telling you if they are being victimized.

  • Watch for warning signs

If you notice changes in your child's behavior, try to identify the cause as soon as possible. If cyberbullying is involved, acting early can limit the damage.

  • Limit availability of personal information 

Limiting the number of people who have access to contact information or details about interests, habits, or employment reduces exposure to bullies that you or your child do not know. This may limit the risk of becoming a victim and may make it easier to identify the bully if you or your child are victimized.

  • Avoid escalating the situation 

Responding with hostility is likely to provoke a bully and escalate the situation. Depending on the circumstances, consider ignoring the issue. Often, bullies thrive on the reaction of their victims. Other options include subtle actions. For example, you may be able to block the messages on social networking sites or stop unwanted emails by changing the email address. If you continue to get messages at the new email address, you may have a stronger case for legal action.

  • Document the activity 

Keep a record of any online activity (emails, web pages, instant messages, etc.), including relevant dates and times. In addition to archiving an electronic version, consider printing a copy.

  • Report cyberbullying to the appropriate authorities 

If you or your child are being harassed or threatened, report the activity. Many schools have instituted anti-bullying programs, so school officials may have established policies for dealing with activity that involves students. If necessary, contact your local law enforcement. Law enforcement agencies have different policies, but your local police department or FBI branch are good starting points.

Source: Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), part of the Department of Homeland Security



Prepare in Advance of Hurricanes


Severe storms can cause havoc for people, businesses and property. Now that the 2019 Hurricane season has arrived, Victory State Bank is urging its customers and neighbors to prepare in advance of threatening weather by following safety measures when a violent storm is forecast.

Websites, such as, the National Weather Service, FEMA, and, can help you plan ahead for disasters and take appropriate measures. Staten Island’s only community-based commercial bank suggests you review the information provided on these sites, and take the following steps ahead of an impending major storm:

1) Monitor local radio and TV for updates.

The path of a storm could change quickly and unexpectedly. Follow the instructions of state, local, and tribal leaders.

2) Hunker down and take shelter.

Stay alert when a severe storm is heading toward the United States.

3) Communicate with friends and family. 

§  Tell them WHERE you are riding out the storm.

§  Tell them and HOW you will let them know you’re safe. You can call, text, email, or use social media.

4) Keep away from windows.

Close storm shutters; flying glass from broken windows could injure you.

5) Prepare for power outages. 

§  Turn your refrigerator or freezer to the coldest setting, and open only when necessary. If you lose power, food will last longer.

§  Keep a thermometer in the refrigerator to check food temperature when the power is restored.

6) Be aware of a potential storm surge.

§  Storm surges pose a great threat to safety and can cut off potential evacuation routes.

§  If you’re told to evacuate, don’t wait.

§  Avoid driving through flooded areas.

§  Almost half of flash flooding deaths occur in vehicles, according to FEMA.

§  When you’re driving, look out for flooding in low-lying areas, at bridges, and at highway dips.

7) Connect to Resources


§  Download the FEMA app for disaster resources, weather alerts, and safety updates. The app (available in English and Spanish) provides a customizable checklist of emergency supplies, maps of open shelters and recovery centers, disaster survival tips, and weather alerts from the National Weather Service.

§  Visit to learn more about emergency preparedness and follow USAGov and FEMA on Twitter for storm updates.




New Federal Policy to Give Employers an Additional Way to Provide Health Insurance



Health insurance is arguably a foremost concern of consumers and business alike. With workers and employers and employers in mind, Victory State Bank – the only community-based business bank in Staten Island, N.Y. – is sharing the following news from the U.S. Department of the Treasury:

On June 13, the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and the Treasury issued a new policy that will provide hundreds of thousands of employers, including small businesses, a better way to provide health insurance coverage, and millions of American workers more options for health insurance coverage.

The Departments issued a final regulation that will expand the use of health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs). When employers have fully adjusted to the rule, it is estimated this expansion of HRAs will benefit approximately 800,000 employers, including small businesses, and more than 11 million employees and family members, including an estimated 800,000 Americans who were previously uninsured.

Under the rule, starting in January 2020, employers will be able to use what are referred to as individual coverage HRAs to provide their workers with tax-preferred funds to pay for the cost of health insurance coverage that workers purchase in the individual market, subject to certain conditions.

According to the government, these conditions strike the right balance between employer flexibility and guardrails meant to protect the individual market against adverse selection, and include a notice requirement to ensure employees understand the benefit. Individual coverage HRAs are designed to give working Americans and their families greater control over their healthcare by providing an additional way for employers to finance health insurance.

Many businesses have struggled with the high costs and complex bureaucracy of providing health insurance coverage, leading to less coverage for workers. Over the last decade, a significant number of small businesses have stopped offering any health insurance to their employees. As a result, a smaller percentage of Americans working in small businesses are being covered by employer health benefits, and many are left uninsured. Moreover, 80 percent of employers that provide coverage only offer one type of health plan to their employees, leaving workers and their families with no choices and plans that may not meet their needs.

The HRA rule makes it easier for small businesses to compete with larger businesses by creating another option for financing worker health insurance coverage. The rule enables businesses to better focus on serving their customers and growing their businesses — and not on navigating and managing complex health benefit designs.

The HRA rule also increases workers’ choice of coverage, increases the portability of coverage, and will generally improve worker economic well-being.

This rule will also allow workers to shop for plans in the individual market and select coverage that best meets their needs. Because HRAs are tax-preferred, workers who buy an individual market plan with an HRA receive the same tax advantages as workers with traditional employer-sponsored coverage.

Further, by increasing employee options and empowering more people to shop for health plans in the individual market, the government anticipates the final rule should spur a more competitive individual market that drives health insurers to deliver better coverage options to consumers.

In addition to allowing individual coverage HRAs, the HRA rule creates an excepted benefit HRA. In general, this aspect of the rule permits employers that offer traditional group health plans to provide an excepted benefit HRA of up to $1,800 per year (indexed to inflation after 2020), even if the employee doesn’t enroll in the traditional group health plan, and to reimburse an employee for certain qualified medical expenses, including premiums for vision, dental, and short-term, limited-duration insurance. This provision will also benefit employees who have been opting out of their employer’s traditional group health plan because the employee share of premiums is too expensive.

Source: The U.S. Department of the Treasury