30th May 2023

Learning how to protect your business against cyber attacks is critical in today's digital age. With so many businesses reliant on digital technology and the internet for their day-to-day operations, it's essential that businesses have cybersecurity measures in place.

The impact of a cyber attack on a business is often devastating, depending on the size and duration of an attack. Some of the consequences include:

  • exposure of sensitive data

  • huge financial losses

  • hefty fines and regulatory sanctions

  • damage to business reputation

  • exposure of intellectual property

According to the Annual Cyber Threat Report 2022, there has been a rise in the average cost per cybercrime to $39,000 for small businesses. Data breaches, in particular, can have much higher financial repercussions, with the average cost of a breach in Australia being $3.35 million – an increase of 9.8% year on year.

SMEs often overlook cybersecurity, thinking that only large companies are at risk. This is not the case. SMEs are often prime targets as hackers bank on them being less prepared for an attack, making them easy prey.

Also, many SMEs often don’t have the time, money or resources to dedicate to cyber security. Weakened security awareness and precautions make them attractive targets for cybercriminals, with 43% of all attacks affecting small businesses. Furthermore, 60% of all small businesses that have been victims of a data breach permanently close their doors within six months of an attack.

Types of Cyber Attacks

To help prevent an attack against networks and systems in your business, it’s important to understand the different types of cyber attacks and how they can impact your business. We’ve included some of the most common types of cyber security attacks you need to be aware of.

Malware (Malicious Software — Malware is a term used to describe harmful software created to disrupt, harm, or gain unauthorised access to computing systems. Malicious software is commonly distributed through email attachments, infected websites, or deceptive downloads.

Ransomware Attack — Ransomware is a type of Malware that encrypts or locks your files so you no longer have access to them. A hacker will demand a ransom payment in order for you to be able to regain access to your data. Failure to pay may result in the exposure of highly sensitive data, whilst payment may leave your business in a challenging financial position with no guarantee that you will regain access to your files.

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) Attack — DDoS attacks are designed to bring down a server, network or service by flooding it with malicious internet traffic. This prevents users from being able to access online services and websites as the target of the attack cannot cope with the volume of traffic and becomes overloaded. The overload results in a ‘denial of service’, which stops all internet traffic coming in, both good and bad. A DDoS attack can lead to significant reputational damage and financial losses.

Phishing — A phishing attack aims to obtain your personal information, such as bank details, passwords and other private information. Cybercriminals try to trick you into sharing your personal data by contacting you via email or text. Attackers will typically impersonate a trustworthy entity, such as a bank or a reputable organisation, and use deceptive techniques like fraudulent emails, messages, or websites to obtain sensitive data.

Password Hacking — Another significant threat that small businesses face is accounts being hacked due to weak passwords. An average of 19% of professionals use easily guessed passwords or share passwords across accounts. Cloud-based services are often targets of attacks due to the private data usually stored within them. Hackers who gain access to your account can exploit personal information and conduct fraudulent activities. This can result in financial loss, reputation damage and data breaches.

Cyber Attack Prevention and Best Practice

So, how can you protect your business and minimise the risk of a cyber attack?

  1. Education: As a small business owner, you need to educate yourself and your employees on cybersecurity measures that can protect your business. You can start by staying informed about the latest threats by reading relevant articles and blogs from industry experts. Make yourself familiar with the common types of attacks (some of which we’ve listed above) and how they may be implemented within your business, and incorporate safety measures to prevent them

  2. Strong and secure passwords: Make sure your team uses unique and complex passwords for every account, using a variety of lowercase, uppercase, numbers and special characters.

  3. Use a Password Manager: You shouldn’t save your passwords in your browser. Password Managers are safer as they securely store your password data using advanced encryption.

  4. Keeping software and systems up to date: Regularly update your devices, applications, and software to ensure you have the latest security features and bug fixes that can lead to vulnerabilities in software. Set up automatic updates whenever possible to make this an automated process.<

  5. Install antivirus software on devices: This will help deter, detect, and block malicious activities. Antivirus Software is readily available, cost-effective and easy to install. But more importantly, it’s highly effective

  6. Multi-factor authentication: Requires additional data (not just your password) when you access an account. This extra layer of security requires you to provide additional verification to prove your identity, such as a unique code sent to your phone by text or email.

  7. Regularly Update Wi-Fi passwords: Keep your Wi-Fi network secure by changing the username and password of your router regularly, turning on a firewall and Wi-Fi encryption and using a VPN.

These are 7 simple measures that can help protect your business from a cyber security attack. You should make the time to research other ways to protect your business. You should also create a cybersecurity strategy incorporating an action plan on dealing with a cyber-attack, should one occur within your business.

Commander knows how important cybersecurity is to your business. For further assistance in achieving and maintaining a high level of security for your business, you can speak to one of our communication specialists at a Commander Centre near you.

Find your local Commander Centre here.

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