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Cyber security is a big threat to Australian businesses
Cyber security is a big threat to Australian businesses

Note: for the purpose of this article, we’re going to focus on businesses in the finance industry. However, the points discussed can apply to a number of different industries.

The advances brought to us by continually evolving and improving technology have created a well- connected world where thing once unimaginable are now routine.

Unfortunately, these advances come with a price. Our security and the security of our assets are at risk from unforeseen threats.

This begs the question, what threats must businesses be aware of, and how can cybersecurity threats be controlled?

An unfortunate attitude that permeates all types of businesses is the commonly held belief that a cyber threat is something that happens to some other business. The ‘it cannot happen to me’ thought on all types of crime is foolish. However, in the case of cyber threats, it is dangerous because what you cannot see will not only hurt you; it has the potential to ruin you.

 

What is a Cyber Threat?

A cyber threat is an event or series of events that hold potential for causing the loss of holdings, identity, intellectual property, and other related assets as well as the detrimental effects or impact from such loss.

 

Do Brokers and Other Businesses Need to Worry?

Brokers and other members of the financial industry should concern themselves with cyber threats. According to the Notifiable Data Breaches Scheme 12-month Insights Report from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s (OAIC) lists the Australian financial sector as the second most susceptible industry when it comes to cybercrimes and data breaches. Only the health care industry is more vulnerable to these threats.

According to the manager of cybersecurity operations for the University of the Sunshine Coast’s Institute for Cyber Investigations and Forensics, Connie McIntosh, financial service companies are attractive because they hold a high level of data, particularly sensitive and identifying data.

 

Important Facts About Cyber Threats in Australia

While no one wants to live in a state of fear, understanding the chances of something problematic happening gives you a frame of reference and a starting point to build your security strategies. These eye-opening statistics should help put cyber threats and cybercrimes into perspective.

  • The ACIC reports that the Australian economy spends about one billion dollars per year because of cybercrimes.
  • A report from cybersecurity giant, Norton, reveals that over 500,000 Australian small businesses fell victim to these sorts of crimes.
  • Australia was ranked number five in the world for the number of exposed records. The number topped out at over 20,000,000
  • 65% of Australian organisations are actively engaged in the hunt for cyber threats
  • In 2019, data breaches that happened via third-party suppliers or providers increased by 74%.
  • The average cost to a medium-sized business compromised by an attack is 1.9 million dollars
  • Close to half of security breaches in the financial services sector have human error as the root cause.

 

How Can a Cyber Threat Impact My Business?

Devastating is how experts describe the impact of cyber threats to your business. Given the nature of personal data that a lot of businesses use to operate, particularly in the finance industry, there are numerous ways cybercrime can hurt a business.

 

Ransomware is used by criminals to encrypt your personal files
Ransomware is used by criminals to encrypt your personal files

 

Here are just a few facts about the effects of cyber breaches:

  • Information that seems innocuous, such as someone’s email can give a skilled computer hacker entry into a world of sensitive client information a broker would compile. This information can be used for everything from identity theft to extortion, depending on the hacker in control of the information. Frequently, these sorts of data make a sizeable profit for hackers on the dark web.
  • The majority of companies hit by cyberattacks experience 25 hours or more of downtime. While this may not sound extreme, consider the loss to your business because of wasted time compounded by the losses directly caused by the breach.
  • In 2019, 65% of Australian businesses experienced an interruption to their business because of cybercriminals. Additionally, 89% of Australian businesses report a breach in the past 12 months.

 

What Can You Do to Protect Yourself and Your Customers?

There are three key questions that APAC director of technical security consulting at the NCC Group, Tim Dillon, recommends brokers and others in the finance profession ask themselves:

  1. Is my customer data secure?
  2. Where is my customer data located?
  3. Who can access my customer data?

In some cases, brokers will need technical assistance to get accurate answers to these questions. However, not knowing is a risk most members of the financial sector cannot afford to take.

In addition to these steps, purchasing Cyber Protection Insurance can save you and your company untold amounts of both money and grief. By using a two-pronged approach by incorporating enhanced security with the right insurance cover, you and your clients can be safe from cyber threats.

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