Security has always been an important concern for businesses of all sizes. And in today’s world, cybersecurity is an important issue that business owners cannot afford to overlook.
How many times a day do you get a scam email or phone call from cyber criminals who are keen to get information and data about your business, your employees or your customers? It happens too often as they try to get details they can then use to hurt your business, sell your data or even threaten to destroy your business if a fee isn’t paid.
There are a number of ways these scammers try to get information. They try to get unauthorised access to your computers or mobile devices through viruses, malware or emails. They can also troll your website or social media pages to spread misinformation to damage your reputation, which can seriously impact your business.
“The vast majority of cyber-crimes are motivated with profit in mind, however some crimes are committed purely for the purpose of disrupting or disabling the victim’s computer system,” says Shannon Huggins, Managing Director of Cairns Corporate Computer Systems. “Cyber security breaches can affect businesses in wide and varied ways. At one end of the spectrum, a business may suffer no losses other than loss of face or embarrassment that their name and email system have been used to spread toxic software and bogus invoices.
“At the other end of the spectrum, a serious breach can result in the destruction of the targeted business. The most famous example of this occurred in 2014 following the largest heist in human history, where a perpetrator or perpetrators made off with approximately $630,000,000 (Australian dollars) worth of Bitcoin from the Mt Gox exchange in Tokyo (Mt Gox ended up declaring bankruptcy and losing everything).”
Shannon says the most common result of cyber-crimes is the loss of productivity while businesses try to fix the problem.
“In the case of a ransomware attack, the lost productivity is roughly equivalent to the time taken to restore the computer system from backup plus the time taken to recreate the data created since the last backup,” he says. “For example, if the computer system is knocked offline at midday, and it takes two hours to restore the previous night’s backup, then the morning’s work plus two hours of productivity are lost.
“Larger businesses will require much more than two hours to restore their system and, more likely, one or two days of productivity would be lost.”
Business owners need to make sure tough security measures are in place to prevent any cyber-crimes. A secure setting is absolutely essential to ensure that the data their business creates and store as well as the information customers give are safe.
There are many ways your business information can be at risk including customer records, financial information, business and marketing plans, employee records and new product ideas and designs.
It’s imperative that business owners have security measure in place to protect their systems and their assets.
“Cyber-crimes fall into three separate categories – crimes where the computer is the target (eg to gain access to a victim’s bank accounts), crimes where the computer is used as a weapon (eg to disrupt the operation of the victim’s business) and thirdly, where the computer is used to store illegal data,” says Shannon.
“A common type of cyber-crime takes the form of a confidence trick, where an individual is duped into running a program or surrendering a password. The program will then record the victim’s keystrokes and report them back, so things like usernames and passwords can be stolen.
“If the victim has a role in an accounts department, for example, the criminals will look for sent invoices. The perpetrator will copy existing sent invoices and edit them to list their own bank account details. They will then send them from the victim’s email address and encourage speedy payment. They may do this hundreds of times, confident in the knowledge that they only need to trick one or two people to receive a windfall.”
Fortunately, the Australian Government has formed the Australian Cyber Security Centre and has published eight essential strategies for mitigating cyber security threats to help businesses and organisations plan their cyber security strategies (visit www.cyber.gov.au/node/162).
“Cyber security policies should be reviewed annually or twice a year to have a robust policy that will shield threats,” Shannon adds. “The cyber-crime landscape is ever changing and evolving as perpetrators change their methodologies.”