In the digital age, cyber threats are a serious issue for businesses of all sizes. Even a small breach can have a major impact on your company’s reputation and bottom line. As an Australian business owner, it’s important to be aware of the five most common cyber security threats to your business and how to protect yourself from them. By understanding the risks and taking the proper steps to protect yourself, you can help ensure that your business is safe and secure from cyber threats.
Malware is malicious software that can infect your computer or smartphone. Malware is typically disguised as legitimate software, such as an update for Adobe Flash Player, an update for a video game, software that repairs computer issues or as a system update. Malware also comes in the form of software Trojans, viruses, worms and more.
Malware can be installed on computers through unsecured websites, links in emails or through software vulnerabilities. No matter how malware was introduced to your network, once it is installed, it can disrupt operations, damage computer systems and steal sensitive data.
2. Phishing scams
Phishing scams are fraudulent emails designed to trick you into providing your login information or other sensitive data. These emails may appear to be from your bank, an airline, a government agency, or other businesses you do business with on a regular basis.
Phishing scams are designed to look like real emails, so it’s important to take extra care when reading, clicking, or responding to emails you receive on a regular basis. Phishing emails may ask for sensitive data like your login credentials or ask you to click on a link to update account information or provide other sensitive information.
3. Data breaches
A data breach occurs when hackers gain access to sensitive data on your server or network without permission. This can include any kind of sensitive data including customer records, intellectual property or trade secrets belonging to your business.
Data breaches can lead to identity theft if thieves take this stolen data and use it for their own purposes like stealing money from bank accounts or credit cards, filing fraudulent tax returns in someone else’s name, etc. The average cost of a data breach in Australia is $3.35 million, with this average increasing in the future. In reaction to the considerable harm caused by the Optus data breach, the government is introducing harsher penalties for data breaches. The legislation is proposing to hike the penalty for serious or recurring data privacy violations to either $50 million or 30% of a business’s adjusted income in the applicable time frame, whichever is greater – a marked rise from the former penalty sum of $2.22 million.
Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to lock you out of your data or systems. Once you’re infected with ransomware, hackers may be able to access your files and hold them hostage. Ransomware is generally spread via unsecured networks or infected files and isn’t always easy to detect or to remove the infection. As such, it’s important to have backups of your data to ensure that ransomware doesn’t result in permanent data loss. Ransomware has the potential to shut down businesses and significantly impact the operations of businesses of all sizes, leaving them struggling to operate without access to their data.
5. DDoS attack
A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack occurs when a hacker takes control of your server or network and uses it to direct large amounts of traffic at another target. This is usually done in an attempt to overload the target’s bandwidth or computing power and make the site unreachable for legitimate users. The hacker can also use this technique to knock your own website offline by overloading it with traffic, as well.
DDoS attacks are usually attempted by hackers using a botnet, a network of computers that have been compromised with malicious software. Botnets can be controlled remotely by a hacker, allowing them to be used for a variety of malicious activities, including DDoS attacks.
How can businesses protect themselves from these cyber threats?
The COVID-19 pandemic had severe consequences all over the world, yet some positive impacts were also seen. Within twelve months of the onset of the health crisis, the closure of many businesses and the subsequent move to remote working, as well as a cutback in commuting, caused a tremendous improvement in the environment that was noticed all over the world. There was a marked rise in the quality of air and water, and a noticeable decrease in the global carbon footprint.
The COVID-19 pandemic had an array of harmful impacts throughout the world, but we can keep the few beneficial outcomes alive as we come back to our everyday life by adapting to the new modern work setting and restructuring the way we work and operate. Hybrid and remote working models are likely to continue to be the mainstay of businesses who are now more conscious than ever of their sustainability responsibilities.
At present, technologies and services that advocate a zero trust approach to cybersecurity are making it feasible for businesses, regardless of size, to protect their data, validate identity and access, and securely work from any location. They are also enabling the invention of fresh strategies of gathering, engaging, and doing business that have a striking effect on tackling climate change.
There are a number of ways that businesses can protect themselves from these common cyber threats. When it comes to malware, phishing scams, and ransomware, the best protection is to prevent infection in the first place. By implementing proper cybersecurity measures, such as a robust antivirus program, an up-to-date firewall, and regular updates, you can reduce the risk of infection and keep your data safe from hackers.
While data breaches can’t always be prevented, there are a number of steps businesses can take to reduce the risk of suffering a breach. To protect your company from data breaches, you can implement policies around data governance, cybersecurity employee training, and regular cyber risk assessments.
Protect your business with the cybersecurity experts
Today’s organisations rely heavily on data and maintaining business continuity at all times. It’s important to be aware of the cyber threats that businesses face and prepare against common cyber attacks. With the technology and cybersecurity experts at Virtu, you can implement a sustainable approach to business that ensures that your business is safe and secure from cyber threats now and into the future.