How Safe Are You Really from Cyber Security Attacks?
When considering your company’s security system, you may wonder how real the threat of a cyber attack really is and whether a security assessment is really necessary. You have a reputable anti-virus software program installed on your system that should theoretically take care of any and all threats, right? The truth is that despite leading global security firms investing heavily in research and development, new types of ransomware continue to emerge and breach defences.
Cybercrime is now the number-one threat facing Australian SMBs. No longer regarded as just an IT issue, last year’s high-profile data breaches that targeted multiple industries have raised awareness of this growing problem that threatens all businesses and individuals.
47,000 attacks were recorded by the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) in 2016–17. More than half were malicious online scams or fraud, 15% more than the previous year, with 7,283 affected major businesses and 734 affected notable private sector organisations.
Business losses doubled from compromised emails in 2016–17. More than $20 million in losses were reported to the ACSC, an increase of more than 130% from 2015–16.
As technology becomes ever more integrated with how and where we do business, our vulnerability to attacks increases. Cybercriminals deploy ever more sophisticated and targeted methods of attack, using diverse and innovative methods to compromise networks.
Hence we have seen an increase globally in the scale, frequency and severity of cyber attacks, which has left many companies exposed and often unaware of the risk they run by not taking action. Security breaches can lead to sensitive information being compromised and massive data loss, which could lead to massive financial losses if your company is not adequately protected.
Cybercrime’s annual cost to the global economy tops $400 billion and is a relatively cheap and safe path for criminals to prey on individuals and companies. In stark contrast, the security required to counter their attacks can be hugely expensive to put in place, causing a loss of data and money.
What are the worst data security threats in a business environment?
Phishing and Pharming fool the user into giving away personal information. Pharming is a method of getting a user to visit an illegitimate website by redirecting the clicked URL and tricking users to enter sensitive information on the ‘fake’ site.
Phishing involves fake texts and emails, perhaps asking the user to update their information with services or intimidate them by pretending to be of authority, with the aim to steal personal or financial information. Phishing emails are getting more personal and sophisticated by intercepting and replicating invoices for existing payment arrangements, which can make them harder for employees to spot.
Malware is used cyber criminals and corporate spies to infiltrate individuals’ devices, capture sensitive data, and further use the devices to access the organisations larger network. Malware prompts the user to click a link or visit a site where it downloads onto the device. Once initialised, it can cause havoc, including reformatting hard drives, capturing sensitive information and controlling all elements on the computer.
Ransomware is a kind of Malware that, instead of initially deleting or removing files, restricts access to them and demands payment for access. There two types of ransomware: Lockscreen and encryption. Lockscreen ransomware displays an image and blocks user access to the device. Encryption ransomware encrypts files stored wherever they are kept on the device (this includes places such as cloud or intranet), preventing the user from opening or viewing them. Australia is in the top 10 countries for ransomware attacks, according to Symantec.
In a Denial of Service attack, attackers overload servers with an excess number of illegitimate queries, which effectively cripples these servers. These attacks are linked to extortion as the hacker threatens to crash or slow the servers repeatedly if they don’t receive payment. These attacks are a huge threat to businesses operating online, as they cause large amounts of lost revenue due to downtime as well as lost or damaged data.
But I only have a small business. Why should I be worried?
Small and medium businesses are often an appealing target for hackers for the reason that smaller companies underestimate their risk and therefore don’t put adequate security measures in place. Sometimes small businesses serve as the entry point for attackers to gain access to larger businesses that they work with. Not all attacks require malware. Criminals are increasingly using social engineering to hijack accounts and trick organisations into wiring large amounts of money into their accounts. These Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks are among the highest security risks for IT departments in Australia with nearly a quarter of respondents saying their business has been targeted at least once a month.
How much is the average cost of financial damage due to data breach per company?
In 2017, the average total cost to Australian companies affected by cybercrime was still a hefty $2.51 million each. This figure should serve as a motive to business leaders to reconsider IT costs, and in particular data security, as an investment rather than a cost.
What are the most common cause of security breaches?
Vulnerabilities are typically the result of one or more of the following being present in an organisation’s environment:
Unauthorised changes to system settings
Misconfigured network devices and software applications
Insecure network design or implementation of weak protocols
A more strategic and multi-faceted approach to security is required for any organisation to identify, protect from and respond to the threats that exist today and prepare for those that may come in the future. With this comes the need for an agile security plan that is both effective and commercially realistic.
Every organisation must determine for itself what constitutes an acceptable level of risk. To reduce the likelihood of a system compromise, systems should be regularly subjected to technical security assessment to ensure that any vulnerabilities within the systems are identified proactively and remediated before they can be exploited by an attacker.
Organisations across the globe recognise that getting security right from the outset is a critical success factor. Many in the security industry are changing their stance from whether an attack will take place; to how often these attacks might be occurring, are they able to detect them when they do, and the subsequent impact on their business.
Ultimately, security is critical to the success of any modern organisation and security risk must be managed to acceptable levels.
What can business owners do to protect against cyberattacks?
There are tools and processes you can put in place to safeguard your business from cyber threats, starting with implementing good online practices with your staff. Start with these simple steps:
Back up data
It’s essential that you regularly back up your important data and information, from financial records and business plans to customer records and personal information. This will lessen the damage in the event of a breach or computer problem. Fortunately, backing up your data is generally cost-effective and easy.
Secure your computer and devices
Malware or viruses can infect your computers, laptops and mobile devices. Install security software on your business computers and devices to help prevent infection and ensure it includes anti-virus, anti-spy ware and anti-spam filters. Make sure that you set your security software to update automatically as updates may contain important security upgrades based on recent viruses and attacks.
Monitor and protect the use of computer equipment and systems
Maintain a record of all the computer equipment and software used by your business. Keep items secure to prevent forbidden access and remind employees to be mindful of where and how they keep their devices.
Protect important information
Make sure you encrypt your data when stored or sent online so only approved users can access it.
Manage administrative passwords
Change all default passwords and look at disabling administrative access entirely to avoid an attacker from gaining access to your computer or network. Make sure you change each password to something new that can’t be easily guessed.
Choose strong passwords
Frequently change your passwords every few months. If you use the same password for everything, once someone has your password, all your accounts are potentially under attack. Consider using a password manager that securely stores and creates passwords for you.
Use spam filters
Use spam filters to reduce the amount of spam and phishing emails that your business receives.
Educate your staff to be safe online
It is important to train your staff on the threats they can face online and the major role they play in keeping your business safe. Training staff on maintaining good passwords, being aware of fraudulent emails and reporting suspicious online activity will help ensure good cyber security practices.
Put security measures in place
Establish a strong social media policy, which sets what type of business information your staff can share online, and where. An attacker can develop a convincing scam tailored to your employee by building a profile from their business and personal information they post online.
Keep yourself informed about the latest cyber security risks
Online transaction issues and payment fraud can be a real concern for businesses trading online. It’s important to stay informed about the latest scams and security risks.
What solutions does Leap Consulting provide to prevent data breached?
Log monitoring & management
This measure examines and manages logs generated by nearly every computing device to record and analyse your business’s technology activity to effectively report and address possible security issues.
Leap Consulting takes a proactive approach, constantly examining the cyclical practice of monitoring, identifying, and patching or mitigating security vulnerabilities within your system to find possible threats and keep you safe.
Security device management
Keeping security solutions updated and patched can be a challenging DIY. Leap’s managed security services help clients optimise their current technology investment with the latest firewalls and endpoint security solutions.
Internal compliance monitoring & management
Maintaining internal compliance is essential for Perth businesses. Leap’s compliance monitoring and management programme provides visibility, critical to maintaining compliance.
Exploiting humans is the easiest way for viruses to enter your system. Leap Consulting’s ever-evolving email security provides filtering so you never have to deal with questionable spam, phishing, and virus-laden emails.
Protect your business’s intranet security and data from external attacks through Leap’s multi-channel defence solutions which ensure your intellectual property or sensitive client information remain protected.
Increase productivity by finding a smart solution to rogue browsing and suspicious web downloads. Leap Consulting’s knowledge of online security software ensures your staff will remain protected and productive.
When would be a good time for business owners to act on cybercrime prevention strategies?
In short: NOW! If a hacker has an eye on your business, he will find his way in. Organisations need to put in place security controls, but best practice is also about monitoring threats and responding appropriately when attacks happen. The challenge for an IT leader is to have an appropriate response strategy.
What makes Leap Consulting solutions different from other IT solutions provider?
Leap Consulting believes in a proactive and innovative approach to security, providing a managed security solution which includes Anti-Virus, Anti-Malware, and basic email spam filtering. The company takes a multi-layered approach to security for maximum protection, and has undertaken an on-going program to raise the level of security awareness and help clients navigate these risks.
Its proactive approach means that it constantly monitors, identifies, and mitigates security vulnerabilities within your system to identify possible threats and keep you safe. It can help protect your business’s intranet security and data from external attacks through its multi-channel defence solutions. Flexible security solutions enables monitoring both on premises and in the cloud and partnerships with leading technology providers means the company can provide you with cutting-edge security innovations.