In a 2019 report, the Department of Home Affairs and Smart Online Australia revealed that cybercrimes are responsible for approximately $30 billion worth of damages to Australian businesses, an average cost of $277,000 per business. Most of us have spent a good portion of 2020 working remotely, and there is no doubt that our dependency on digital platforms has increased more than ever before.
CYFIRMA’s investigation shows a 600% increase in cyber threat indicators since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. These threat indicators consist of conversations observed and studied through online hackers’ forums and closed communities that plan to do harm to government organisations and businesses. Scam techniques have become more sophisticated, and with so many new threats out there, you need to ensure your business is protected against any malicious attempts.
Why has the risk increased?
As businesses in general aren’t set up with a remote working model, cybersecurity in this situation may not be as effective. This makes businesses with work from home arrangements easier targets for harmful threats. With your team dispersed and working from different locations, your company is exposed to new sets of risks that hackers and scammers will use against you.
A recent article by Entrepreneur stressed the importance of your physical location when it comes to your device’s susceptibility to malicious attacks. When team members set up their office computers in their home environments, these devices are transferred to a completely different digital space to where it was before. The average home has a more complex digital ecosystem than some small companies because of the communication between routers, printers, gaming consoles and smart home systems. This cross-communication can potentially infiltrate your personal information and computer’s programs and security.
How is my business at risk?
Fergus Hanson, Director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s International Cyber Policy Centre, said that remote working has opened more doors for scammers to gain access to a network. Cybercrimes do not need to be as overt as someone seizing control of your computer (although this does happen). Even the email sitting in your junk folder at this very moment has the potential to do something harmful. If you think about it, these malicious activities are attempted every day, making it only a matter of time before they are eventually successful.
Findings by Stanfield IT show ransomware (18%), phishing emails (19%) and malware (18%) as the top three cybercrimes affecting Australian organisations. The same research indicates an 80% increase in the theft of sensitive information and data loss. This massive increase poses a very real threat to businesses and their:
- Finances: The average cost of data breach is approximately $2 million. This includes money spent on investigation, security consulting, PR and image management, business interruption, auditing, and improving your cybersecurity.
- Reputation: Over 75% of consumers would switch providers if the brand has experienced data breach (based on a survey conducted by Security). The circumstances surrounding the breach do not matter to customers. Knowing that your system has been hacked, and their information compromised, could be enough for them to lose trust in your business.
- Productivity: Cybercrimes will cause disruptions in your day to day operations, be it temporarily or indefinitely. Either way, you and your employees will face a loss of sales, profits, and precious time while waiting for the business to recover and get back up and running as usual.
Prevention is better than cure
Cybercrime is a pandemic in itself. With the release of new virus software daily, Cyber Security Ventures predicts that cybercrime will cost the world US$6 trillion by 2021. You may be considering upgrading to a better cybersecurity system to protect your business from becoming a victim of cyberattacks. It is essential you ensure your antivirus program is up to date. However, it is even more important to train and educate your staff to detect and report these threats.
According to Mimecast, over 90% of hacking attacks begin with phishing emails. Approximately 23% of phishing emails are opened by employees or top-level executives despite knowing about the potential danger. This affirms what Kathy Hughes, VP and CISO at Northwell Health in New York, stated in this video when she talked about how people are the weakest link in the security chain. She stresses the importance of creating a culture of security awareness through ongoing training and phishing simulation programs as it takes more than just knowing about threats to prevent them.
Did you know that although cybercrime is the number one crime in the world, most attacks are not covered by standard property or crime insurance policies? This means that if you do fall victim to a cyberattack and do not have proper insurance in place, you will be liable for the costs associated. Hackers and scammers are using COVID-19 as a golden opportunity to breach your business system. Protect your business today with the help of the team at East West Insurance Brokers. We can arrange suitable cyber protection cover that’s tailored to your business needs.
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