Minimising cyber risks

Cyber security breaches are a rising threat to the everyday functions of small businesses. Australia’s national Notifiable Data Breaches scheme found over half of the 245 breaches in the three months to June 2019 were deliberately crafted to exploit known vulnerabilities for financial or other gain. Before it is too late, there are easy-to-implement strategies leaders can employ to help safeguard their data.

  • The most common piece of advice consumers hear is to use a complex password, with a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and punctuation — but this is only your first line of defence. One habit that can be the difference between whether hackers are able to penetrate your account is making the effort to change your credentials regularly and using unique passwords for each platform.
  • Authorising third-party apps to manipulate your account’s information can leave the door open for your data to be compromised. Take a critical look at any permissions granted and resist engaging with unauthorised services that are against the platforms’ rules, like buying followers.
  • Quick and convenient public WiFi hotspots at your local café, shopping centre or during transit are often too good to be true, because any information sent or received over an unsecured connection can be intercepted. If connecting can’t be avoided, don’t enter any passwords or data which could be of value.
  • Evaluate your cyber security software and make sure it’s going the distance for you or your business. Hackers are constantly developing new ways to mine your information, and your assets could be vulnerable if your provider is not up to standard.

Tyler Moffitt is a senior threat research analyst at Webroot.