Small businesses urged to protect themselves against scammers

A cybersecurity specialist is calling on small-business owners to take some simple measures so they can be better protected in the new financial year against the scammers.

Susie Jones, co-founder and CEO of Cynch Security, said that the number one scam that small businesses should be on the lookout for are invoicing scams, which can cost them thousands of dollars every year.

“Scammers don’t discriminate on the size of your business or where you’re located,” Jones said. “Invoicing scams and business email hacks are hurting small businesses in regional areas and in the major cities.

“Scammers can hack somebody’s username and password within your business to get your personal details or hack a client you work with and start impersonating them,” Jones added. “They will send fake invoices to you from a vendor with new bank details and even set up forwarding rules on your emails before you know it you’ve paid a scam invoice that you thought was for one of your real vendors or clients.”

Research data reveals that Scamwatch has received over 3060 scam reports that mentioned the coronavirus, resulting in over $1,371,000 in reported losses since the outbreak of COVID-19. Despite this, on the average, small businesses only address five per cent of their cyber risk.

The data also uncovered two notable security risks to small businesses that are particularly prevalent at the moment: outdated internet-connected systems and email hacking due to poor password management.

Michelle Price, the CEO of AustCyber, emphasised the importance of strong cyber secuity measures in generating trust among customers.

“The rapid digitisation and digitalisation that has occurred because of COVID-19 has gone hand in hand with an increase in cyber attacks and cybercrime,” Price said. “Protecting our digital infrastructure using tools like multi-factor authentication and keeping your software up to date is vital to protecting the important information businesses hold in their networks and systems. If we’re all doing this kind of thing well, it helps to protect our whole economy against cyber attacks.

“Get a cyber health check done today on your business and its digital infrastructure, don’t wait, or you may find you are responding to a breach that could have been avoided,” Price advised.

SusIe Jones recommends that small-business owners:

  • Protect passwords using a password manager and enable two-factor authentication.
  • Avoid being tricked by confirming via a telephone call that an invoice is genuine before paying.
  • Do a cyber fitness check to determine the amount of valuable data you have that needs protection.

“Many people will think their own process is safe e.g.; one password with different letters or numbers and only they know the passwords, but it’ll come up in a data breach somewhere and their business will be compromised,” Jones said. “Anything easy to remember is easy to hack, even if it’s unique to you.”

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