What Is Cybersecurity? And How To Make Sure Your Business Is Protected

Published on 02/03/2020 by Anna Hammond and Lucca Rossi

The topic of cyberattacks often makes headlines around the world. Companies like PlayStation, eBay, Yahoo and JPMorgan have already spearheaded news on the subject by becoming victims of cybercrime. 

What is cyber security

In the case of Travelex, the foreign exchange giant was hit by a digital attack on New Year’s Eve. The criminals behind the notorious Sodinikibi ransomware demanded a $6m payment to restore stolen files. Shockingly, the criminal hacking group claimed to gain access into TravelEx’s systems six months prior to the attack. 

In an attempt to control the attack, Travelex was forced to take down 30 of its websites across the world. Customers across Europe, Asia and the US were impacted. 

In Australia, cybercrime is reported every 10 minutes across the nation, according to the Australian Cyber Security Centre. Additionally, PrivacyAustralia estimates that cybercrime costs the Australian economy more than $1bn annually.

Given the media coverage that this type of crime receives, we’d forgive smaller businesses for thinking that large companies and institutions are the main targets for digital attacks. But, they’d be wrong.

More than three-quarters of small businesses in Australia (78%) are targeted by cybercriminals, according to SmartCompany, demonstrating that these types of businesses are especially vulnerable. 

Why is this the case? No matter whether they have a large customer base or do not have high sales, many entrepreneurs stop investing in cybersecurity.

That is where the danger lies. 

Below, we’ve detailed the losses of cybercrime in Australia. We’ve also included some valuable tips, such as the adoption of cybersecurity software, to make digital security a priority for your company.

What makes a small business vulnerable to cyberattacks?

There are some factors that make SMEs an easy target for hackers. These include:

  • Absence of cybersecurity actions.
  • Lack of training and awareness of employees about digital dangers.
  • Possession of important data, such as customer credit card information.
  • No external platform for file backup and data protection.

A cyber attack can be extremely damaging to an SME. System unavailability, loss of important data, damage to customers and problems with the brand’s reputation are the main consequences of this crime. Depending on the severity, bankruptcy can occur, after all, statistics indicate that cyberattacks cost SMEs an average of $2.2million. Half of the costs go towards clean-up and the other to business disruption.

According to SmartCompany, businesses that are victims of a cyberattack can get in trouble with governmental agencies too:

Both the GDPR and the Notifiable Data Breaches scheme require strict reporting should customer data become compromised⁠ — with the potential for stiff penalties and fines for non-compliance, up to $2.1 million for the NDB, and up to €20 million ($32 million) or 4% of the company’s global annual turnover for GDPR.’

Online threats are not only increasing every year, but hackers are also becoming more skilled. 

The five main types of cyber attacks

Types of cyber attacks

Cybercrimes have very clear objectives: Illegal access to devices and the theft of confidential data. See some types of cybercrime below:

Malware

Malware is malicious software that, by downloading suspicious files, allows the criminal to have unauthorised access to third-party data. Viruses, spyware, Trojan horses and ransomware are some of the most well-known malware.

Ransomware

This is the type of digital crime in which the hacker hijacks the victim’s data and, from then on, charges a fee for retrieving the information, leading many companies to yield to extortion. 

Phishing 

You’ve probably already dealt with this mode of attack! Phishing is an attempt to obtain data, such as passwords and credit card numbers, from fraudulent emails that imitate trusted sources. It is also common to create fake pages that emulate bank sites to steal confidential information.  

Social Engineering

In this method, the criminal deceives employees of a company to gain access to important data. The threat comes from sources that seem reliable, like a message from a co-worker or authoritative figure. However, that account was probably hacked and the purpose of the accompanying link is to complete the scam.   

DDoS

The distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack aims to make a server, application or infrastructure unavailable. It is a very common form of attack on online services, such as e-commerce.

What is cybersecurity?

At this point, you may be wondering how you can protect your company against these digital threats. Therefore, the time has come to talk about what cybersecurity is and how this practice can help you against the insecurity of the digital environment. 

Cybersecurity refers to preventive methods that protect a company’s system from unauthorised access. Based on the strategies, the risk of crucial information being accessed is mitigated, maintaining the integrity of the business. 

How to prevent cyber attacks

In a scenario where companies can take months to identify cyberattacks, such as Travelex, it is essential to have digital protection actions.

A strong response strategy includes these three important pillars: People, processes and technology. 

That’s what we’ll break down below.

1. People

Staff training is an important part of prevention measures. Many crimes are committed from basic errors, such as opening an email with fake content or downloading suspicious files. 

Invest in constant training that encourages employees to create strong passwords and also warn of the danger of suspicious content. Create a sense of responsibility for digital protection in them.

2. Processes

What’s the best way to proceed in the face of a cyber attack? Have an action map ready in which you also define assignments. Your company can respond quickly to threats. Cybercrimes are increasingly sophisticated, so your reaction method must also evolve at the same rate.

3. Technology

From antivirus to backup tools, use cybersecurity software as an important ally in your prevention strategy. Countless options on the market fit the needs and budget of small businesses.   

Another tip is to employ email security software. This tool protects against viruses, SPAM, phishing, ransomware, among other threats. 

Protection is essential for the sustainable growth of your business. How does your company shield itself from cyberattacks? Share your insights in the comments.

This article may refer to products, programs or services that are not available in your country, or that may be restricted under the laws or regulations of your country. We suggest that you consult the software provider directly for information regarding product availability and compliance with local laws.