Cyber Security and Website Security
Cyberattacks in Australia are Getting Worse
● Australia’s Cybersecurity Agency records one cyberattack every seven minutes.
● Small businesses lose an average of $39,000 per cybercrime, nearly doubling to $62,000 for large businesses.
● Medium businesses are the biggest losers, spending $88,000 on average per attack. ● Attacks increased by 13% in 2021 compared to the previous year.
● The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission says businesses lost an average of $39,000 following the cyberattack on their supplier’s emails.
Where Do the Cyber threats Come From?
Small businesses don’t take stock of their IT security systems because they erroneously believe they are too small to have targets on their backs.
However, the data shows the opposite to be true. Hackers love to target small businesses precisely because they are easy prey.
But how can these hackers penetrate your systems?
1. Malware – This term is the umbrella word for viruses like Trojan and spyware, among others. By attaching to your computer or server, they can “spy” on your private data, siphon crucial information, steal your customer’s identity, or even cripple your business.
2. Ransomware – This type of virus cripples your system until you have paid the “ransom.” The malware hides on suspicious websites, emails, and links. Employees must avoid opening emails from unknown senders, for example.
3. Phishing – If you ever received an email from some Nigerian prince, you have just become a target for phishing. If you had called that number or responded through email, they would convince you to send bank details, purchase a gift card, or give remote access to your computer.
4. Human error – Unfortunately, being complacent can have devastating consequences. Failing to teach vigilance among employees allows a small crack for hackers to creep into your systems.
The business may have the best server security, but it won’t matter if the employees are undertrained to follow best IT practices.
Can You Avoid a Cyberattack?
Cybersecurity experts agree that companies can’t fully avoid an attack. But you can minimise it and avoid irreparable damage using best practices.Here are some ways how to do it:
- Database hygiene – Itemise your data and scrub clean any information you no longer need to sustain your core operations.
- Inventory Shadow IT – The term refers to apps, devices, and services that do not come from your IT department. Examples include Google Drive, Skype, Gmail, Zoom, and the like. Unfortunately, hackers use them as a backdoor to your systems.
3. Begin where you are most vulnerable – If budgetary constraints are a consideration, start bolstering areas where you feel it would cost you the most. Calculate potential loss in regulatory fines, customer exodus, and reputational damage.
4. Software updates – Ensure that you invest in licensed software that regularly updates its data against cyber threats. The automatic updates can run in the background, so they don’t disrupt your operations.
5. Backup your system – If data is the backbone of your business, then you must always have a duplicate. You can use external hard drives to back up your data. However, for added safety, ensure these are disconnected from your terminals when you are not using them.
6. Use the Internet responsibly – Tap your IT to train your employees on using the Internet securely. They must avoid using predictable passwords, use 2-factor authentication, log out from websites after using them, steer clear from unsecured sites (not using HTTPS:// for instance), be cautious of Wi-Fi connections, especially free ones, and use secure devices.
7. Regulate access – When it comes to computer access, its okay to rule like a despot. Run background checks on anyone before you authorise them to enter your server. Compartmentalise access and confine it within departments, so not one person (except the IT) has universal control over your system.
Hiring Ethical Hackers
One way to reduce the chance of becoming a target is to beat any malicious hacker at their own game.
Enter the ethical hackers.
Their primary job is to spot gaps in your IT infrastructure and recommend ways to plaster those holes. They have the same skillset but use their talents for the good guys.
As a result of their efforts, “black hat hackers” would have a more challenging time penetrating your systems.
In previous years, those who hired “white hat hackers” only needed their services once a year. Now, the pervasiveness of the threat forced these companies to schedule multi-year cybersecurity audits.
Ethical hackers run a checklist of vulnerabilities and then test them one by one. They will check for vulnerabilities on the server, terminals, cloud services, apps, mobile applications, access, router, and other components of the critical infrastructure.
Calculating the Costs of Cybersecurity Investment
The cost of a cyberattack is severely undervalued.
Apart from the direct cost of resolving the hack, there are other unquantifiable consequences. For example, the ensuing PR damage from a data breach is too much for an organisation with no extra resources to burn. Plus, they continue to sustain damage until they resolve the matter.
So, the data makes sense: small businesses that survived a cyberattack closed down within six months.
It’s nearly impossible to protect yourself from a cyberattack. However, you must do everything to curtail the threat, even if it means spending money early to implement preventive measures.
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For example, Google says that it is important for all websites to have an SSL certificate to rank on their results page. This shows how important SSL certificates are for website and data security also for higher rankings. Likewise, SSL certificates play an undeniable role in preventing cybersecurity threats.
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