More small Australian businesses worried about hackers

Concerns that hackers might infiltrate a company’s system are growing among small businesses, most of which aren’t properly trained.

More Australian small business owners are worried they will suffer a cyber attack, which Sophie Contreras knows all too well.

The Brazilian samba teacher realized that her corporate email and Instagram account had been infiltrated by hackers in January of this year, the same day her father was hospitalized for Covid-19.

Ms. Contreras claimed that the cybercriminals first hacked her Gmail account, then changed her social media password and deleted emails from her inbox early in the morning to try to cover their tracks.

Friends warned her of the attack when they were contacted via the Instagram page asking for money and promoting cryptocurrency purchases.

The Melbourne resident said her Physical Dance activity suffered as a result.

“I feel so violated knowing someone has been in my personal stuff,” Ms. Contreras said.

“(The hackers) were having full conversations with people pretending to be me… and that would affect my reputation.

“I never worried about it before because I thought no one would bother to hack me, but they did.”

Ms. Contreras encouraged all social media users and small business owners to use two-factor authentication on their accounts, change passwords regularly, not reuse passwords across multiple platforms, and always be aware of the risk.

Recent Business Australia research found that nearly half of Australian small businesses were vulnerable to cyberattacks, with two out of five companies admitting they don’t spend money on cybersecurity.

It also revealed that 90% of the attacks were successful due to human error.

Business Australia CEO Phil Parisis said it’s worrying that 68% of companies don’t have cyber insurance.

He said the threat from cybercriminals would only grow over time.

“Unfortunately, many think that cybersecurity is about technology and that they are protected by a single piece of software, which couldn’t be further from the truth,” he said.

“Small businesses are big businesses for cybercriminals because they are easy to target.

“Train your staff to be suspicious of emails and text messages and know how to spot these false attempts to access your system.”

Mr. Parisis said phishing emails were the most common way hackers accessed an account.

He warned that free public Wi-Fi was another easy way for hackers to see every single transaction on a person’s device in real time. Compromised phone numbers sending fake text messages encouraging people to click links to gain access were another threat to cybercriminals.

In the 2020-21 financial year, 67,500 cybercrime reports were submitted to the Australian Cyber ​​Security Center (ACSC), an increase of nearly 13% over the previous financial year.

An ACSC spokesperson said ransomware remains one of the most serious cyber threats due to its high financial impact and disruptive impact on individuals, businesses and the wider community.

They claimed that cybercriminals who compromised corporate emails have become more sophisticated and organized, especially as more people work from home.

“Fraud, online shopping scams and online banking scams were the main types of cybercrime reported,” the spokesperson said.

“Australian businesses are losing large sums of money due to compromised corporate email, with total losses of approximately $ 81.45 million for fiscal year 2020-21, an increase of nearly 15% over the previous year. previous financial year “.

The ACSC recommended that people turn on automatic updates on their devices to fix any security weaknesses and keep a secure system by adding multi-factor authentication to devices and accounts, using complex passphrases, and backing up devices regularly on an external storage device or on a cloud.

Those who have been scammed or hacked are advised to report the matter to the ACSC on 1300 CYBER1 (1300 292 371) or on line.

As for the larger companies, Optus works closely with the government, global intelligence experts and the group’s global security operations centers to closely monitor the national and international cyber situation.

A spokesperson said the company has continuously improved its security to protect its network and customers.

“Using threat intelligence, analysis and expert advice, we aim to use global best practices in cybersecurity to protect our network and our customers,” they said.

Telstra designs, builds and manages cybersecurity for its global network and uses a range of technologies and security controls to minimize cyber attacks on its systems and networks.

A spokesperson said the company has continuously invested in its security capabilities.

“We also recognize that cybersecurity is as much about people as it is technology, so we invest in programs designed to foster a strong cybersecurity culture within the organization and to prepare our people to protect against a variety of different cyber threats. ” they said.

Telstra also offers a range of products available to business and consumer customers to protect against cyber threats.

A spokesperson for Coles said the company has also invested significant resources to protect its data.

“We regularly review cyber threats to make sure we protect ourselves from an ever-changing external environment,” they said.

Australian financial technology firm Afterpay also uses a comprehensive security program to protect the company and minimize the impact of any attacks.

The business has not suffered serious violations to date.

“Afterpay’s top priority is to offer a secure platform for our customers, merchants and partners. We maintain world-class systems to protect privacy, as protecting customer data is our top priority, ”said an Afterpay spokesperson.

Originally published as ‘Hacked’: Big threat to small businesses that aren’t properly prepared