Is your business protected against cybercrime?

If you use technology such as the internet and email for your business you should take security measures to help prevent and detect cybercrime.

IT IMAGECybercrime in focus

Technology has become a normal part of everyday life and it is constantly changing the way we do business. Widespread use of the internet can open up new opportunities for small businesses but it is important to also be aware of the potential risk of cybercrime. 

Cybercrimes include fraud, hacking, money laundering and theft and could have a significant impact on a small business. If you use technology such as the internet and email for your business you should take security measures to help prevent and detect cybercrime.

What makes small businesses vulnerable to cybercrime?

The Sensis e-Business Report 2014 reported that of the 1800 small and medium businesses surveyed:

  • 98% of businesses owned a computer.
  • 95% of businesses were connected to the internet.
  • 76% owned smart phones.
  • 52% owned tablets.
  • 66% of businesses had a website.
  • 78% of businesses reported purchasing online.
  • 39% of businesses use social media.

The most important reason for use of the internet was for email, followed by internet banking and researching information about products and services.

Small businesses often seek to save costs by using laptop computers, tablets and mobile phones for both business and personal use, share technology amongst staff and many don't set up or maintain firewalls, virus protection and security bugs. These practices make businesses more vulnerable to cybercrime because they reduce computer security and safety.  

How can small businesses protect themselves?

The Australian Institute of Criminology recommends that small businesses do the following to enhance their safety and security:

  • Use different passwords for every account and ensure they are strong.
  • Backup business data regularly.
  • Store backed up data off site and check the data restore periodically.
  • Keep antivirus software up to date, along with software patches and updates.
  • Be conscious of the personal information shared online.
  • Know where cloud-based data is stored.

Small businesses should also look out for email scams, be cautious of emails from unknown senders, take care on social media, and only deal with reputable institutions when trading online.

 

What can businesses do if they have experienced a cybercrime attack?

Common types of cybercrime can now be reported to the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN), which is a national policing initiative of the Australian Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments.

When submitting a report, businesses need to provide as much detail as possible and keep any relevant information about the incident, such as emails and screenshots, in case the police become involved.

Further information about recognising and avoiding common forms of cybercrime, advice for those who have fallen victim and the secure cybercrime reporting tool can be found at www.acorn.gov.au 

Prepared by the Office of the NSW Small Business Commissioner with advice from the Australian Institute of Criminology and the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network.