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CYBERSECURITY: CHANGING FACE OF CRIME FOR SMALL BUSINESS

Even those who don’t rely on the internet on a daily basis for work, education, or communication are aware that things have changed when it comes to security threats for small businesses.

The stakes are higher than ever and cybersecurity updates are now a business essential.

Small and medium automotive and transport businesses have more on the line than ever before. They need to protect their finances as well as their data.

During the 2020 and 2021 lockdowns many major companies were the target of data theft. Several freight companies were impersonated by scammers seeking people’s credit card details.

This blog introduces the topic of cybersecurity for small to medium-sized automotive and transportation businesses and provides a quick overview of risk education and where to look for the specialised information you need.

BEGIN WITH THE BASICS

Cybersecurity can sound intimidating, and for many small and medium-sized business owners there can be confusion about where to get started.

The best place for Australian small and medium businesses to begin is the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC).

Run by the federal government, it contains trusted, straightforward information on becoming cybersecurity competent, the types of threats affecting small and medium-sized businesses, and updates on how global events can impact Australian businesses when it comes to cybersecurity and cybercrimes.

CYBER SECURE

Cybersecurity begins first and foremost with the people who work within the business. Making sure employees across the board have cybersecurity competency is paramount in ensuring protection.

Security aspects that might seem obvious are often the first thing overlooked and passwords are the first port of call.

It’s essential that passwords don’t include traceable details such as names or birthdays, and all passwords should be updated frequently. Having individual computer logins is also a must, and learning to identify suspicious communications from phishing scams (communications disguised as being from a trusted sender) can be the difference between a normal day at the office, and having a major technological setback hit your business.

The ACSC has plenty of free resources on understanding phishing scams, including a straightforward test on their website to see if you can spot a phishing scam.

There are also videos to watch to get more information on phishing scams. These videos are a great starting place for employees and managers alike to brush up their background knowledge.

ASSESSING YOUR BUSINESS

Knowing where to begin is not always easy as we all have different levels of technological know-how.

The first step to improving your businesses cybersecurity and becoming prepared for the future is knowing the best areas of improvement that are specific to your needs.

The Australian government has a free Cyber Security Assessment Tool that will ask you a series of questions to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your business’s cybersecurity.

The tool also provides a list of recommendations and actions to take after the assessment is completed. Forewarned is forearmed and cybercrime is no different.

DATA DATA EVERYWHERE

It might come as a surprise but there are in fact many dangerous purposes that stolen data can be used for.

For small and medium-sized businesses in the automotive industry your clients’ data is a big responsibility. Stolen data can lead to identity fraud, as well as further issues arising from scams and phishing. Your business can be impersonated online, and scammers can try to extort funds or data from people within your client lists, which can lead to theft of finances.

Larger companies are more likely to experience blackmail via malware and trojans, so while it’s important to protect against all likelihoods, data theft and identity fraud are the main issues small to medium businesses face.

Data should be backed up on external servers in case of malware that corrupts a business’s computer system.

FUTURE FOCUSED

While the growing challenges of cybersecurity can be a daunting topic, the good news is that most computer systems are created with inbuilt protections.

Something as simple as following scheduled software updates can sweep for bugs and worms, preventing malicious software from entering your system.

Firewalls generally do a decent job of protecting your computer system and should always be the first line of defence to protecting data and financial information.

The Cyber Security Assessment Tool from the Australian Cyber Security Centre is a great jumping off point when building your cybersecurity for your small to medium business. Sifting through cybersecurity doesn’t have to be a stressful task done alone.

Interested in more ways to improve your small to medium-sized business? Check out Tackling Australia’s Compliance Challenges for discussion on Chain of Responsibility and work safety.

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