Protect yourself against cyber blackmail, don’t get caught out

AlphaBiz Solutions
24 August, 2016

It seems every week a new fortune 500 company comes under attack from cyber-criminals. Making headlines is always the amount of personal user data stolen, but it’s not just the likes of Yahoo that get targeted. Large Australian companies have also felt the brunt of cyber-attacks, companies like Woolworths, David Jones, Kmart, and Vodafone have had systems invaded, and don’t think for a second our  Government untouchable.

However what we don’t see in the news is when small or even medium-sized Aussie business is hit hard by cyber crooks. In the last 3 years, Local business has become easy targets, however, in a positive turn awareness is changing that this year. The problem is that these attacks are extremely costly, with either theft of intellectual property or client data.

The main method of attack is ransomware, after a successful infiltration of your system the criminals install their ransomware. Unfortunately, it is not isolated to one computer, if it is networked with others it will spread, in the process locking up your most crucial information behind an indestructible wall. To get the key to open your files again you have to pay up a large sum of money. It’s digital blackmail.

Even if you pay, you have no guarantee you will ever get your files back; either way you are out of pocket.  

In 2016 the Sydney Morning Herald reported “tens of thousands” of computers in Australia were infected with ransomware. This might sound acceptable but for the same year, Trend Micro reported over one million ransomware infections in the first half of the year.

Unfortunately, most of the time it is human error at fault with over 90% of all malware infections and ransomware attacks start when a user clicks on a deceitful email or fake website links. All this leads to a small script or application downloading onto the user’s computer.

In 2016 an overwhelming one-third of all businesses in Australia were infected with malware and ransomware. It gets much worse, According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, each attack costs the business around $15,000 to recover their data.

What can you do to protect your business when the fortune 500 companies, who spend millions on firewalls and protection still get infected, it all comes down to human error. The best way you can protect your business is to educate your employees on how to spot fake emails, links, and software.

In saying that, having basic security is a must for all business, in conclusion; it is the combination of employee education with IT security that will give you peace of mind.