Work from home cybersecurity issues are on the rise

Published at Oct 20, 2020, in Features

An increase in the number of Australians working from home due to COVID-19 has resulted in a surge in remote access cyber-scams.

That is the finding of the Commonwealth Bank, whose Group Chief Information Security Officer, Keith Howard, revealed that ransomware and business email compromise scams have increased significantly since the start of the pandemic, impacting businesses of all shapes and sizes.

“The cost of cybercrime to the Australian economy is increasing every year, and every day we hear stories from our customers, including business customers, who are dealing with the financial and emotional costs of cybercrime,” Mr Howard said.

Data from the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) found cyberattacks on Australian businesses are costing the economy $29 billion a year.

Last financial year, an average of 164 cybercrimes were reported to the ACSC on a daily basis. Further, 62 per cent of small businesses admitted to being affected by a cyber security incident.

While the Commonwealth Bank has launched a range of cyber resources for business customers to help them understand the risks and improve their cyber security, companies such as WhiteHawk (ASX: WHK) are also leading the way in cyber education.

Read more about WHK: WHK Secures A$2.1M US Government Contract Extension

Businesses that need to protect themselves, which is effectively every business across the country, in every state and territory, need to understand the risks they face and the steps they can take to become more resilient through focusing on securing their people, processes and technology.

“Many businesses feel that cyber security is too technical, complex or expensive to deal with, but a cyber security attack has the ability to negatively impact a business, along with suppliers and customers, so there’s never been a more important time for businesses to take steps to ensure their information is protected online.

“A large part of what makes cyber security complex and intimidating is the increasingly sophisticated technology. Thankfully however, there are some simple tips people can follow to protect themselves online. That is why it’s really important everyone understands how to make cyber security a part of their day to day,” Mr Howard said.

“Australian businesses need to ensure they update their operating systems and applications on their computers and phones; ensure all staff are using strong and unique passwords; establish robust payment processes with multiple approvers; train staff on how to recognise suspicious emails; and set expectations with staff on how to handle corporate and customer data securely,” he said.

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