Article Written by Katina Jaye Beveridge, ASBAS Advisor, Western Sydney Business Centre

Australia is the sixth hottest target of significant cyberattacks, according to a study conducted by cybersecurity company Specops Software. The study revealed that the country has experienced 16 major incidents since 2010, all of them with costing above USD1 million in damages.

Aside from major incidents, Australian enterprises have also experienced a 90 percent jump in the volume of cyberattacks in 2019.  The Australian Cyber Security Centre also reported that it responded to 2266 cybersecurity incidents between 2019 and 2020. These attacks included targeted reconnaissance, ransomware, phishing emails and malicious software that impact larger organisations, supply chains, and government agencies.

Toll Group, the Melbourne-based global logistics company, was attacked twice by ransomware. It became a victim to MailTo ransomware last January and to Nefilim ransomware in early May. Cyber incidents have also impacted financial services company, MyBudget,  beverage company Lion, steel maker BlueScope, and government agency ServiceNSW.

This has led the Defence Minister Linda Reynolds and PM Scott Morrison have called on a conference to raise awareness about the increase in the number of cyberattacks against  Australian organisations.

Some of the common cybersecurity threats that plague Australian businesses, include:

  • Online scams
  • Phishing emails
  • Spyware
  • Identity theft and fraud
  • Ransomware
  • DDoS attacks

So how do you protect your business against these online threats? Here are some basic security tips you should employ:

  1. Develop a clear and online security strategy for your business and employees, and make sure they know it by heart.
  2. Create a cyberattack incident response management plan for when an attack happens.
  3. Educate and train your employees about your cybersecurity policies.
  4. Update all your computers, devices, websites, POS systems, and other software used for business.
  5. Backup your data regularly.
  6. Invest in a robust online security system.
  7. Use strong passwords and always lock your devices.
  8. Do not visit malicious websites.

Cyberattacks can be devastating for any business. Aside from data loss, you might also suffer from online threats can gain illegal access to your devices, harvest sensitive and financial information, corrupt your data, or bring physical damage to your devices. In fact, according to Malwarebytes, 22% of small businesses that have been infected ransomware attacks were hit so hard they could no longer continue operating. Practicing safe internet protocols and being vigilant against these threats can help protect you and your business.