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Secure your personal and business data

22 May 2018

Cyber fraud and scams

The age in which we live and do business is ruled by technology. Every day, on the personal as well as business level, we transact via digital technology. We do this through email, mobile devices, apps, social media, web-based sites. Your Intellectual Property (the data surrounding and about you and your business) is the heart of your business and, according to cyber security experts, you need to understand your data footprint and the data you hold; manage and secure it.

According to data gathered by Stay Smart Online: “43 percent of all cybercrime targets small business”, which is why you need to protect the soft and hard assets of your business and your customers. Westpac has identified a comprehensive list of scams and frauds for which to be on the lookout.

The bank has also launched a comprehensive security information section online: providing tips and explanations on how it protects customers; how you can protect yourself and your business, and a one-time offer for 6 months' free software protection with McAfee for up to five devices.

In business and personally, take the time to test and reset your data management systems and make sure the data you own is secure. Your business data includes, but is not limited to, your brand and reputation, your business ideas and concepts, as well as customer and supplier data. Like your own personal data, all that data is valuable, and that’s what makes it valuable to hackers.

According to urban myth, the details of one credit card are worth about $4 on the criminal market. Not much of an incentive you’d think, but if you’ve got a thousand customers’ details in your easily hackable database – there’s incentive… and there goes your reputation as the business holding the details which is hacked.

Every month, “59 percent of Australian organisations have their business interrupted by a cyber breach”. From the smallest to the largest we are vulnerable to scams, hacking, phishing, ransomware, viruses, spam.

And, the most likely way in for hackers (80 percent of breaches): “weak or stolen passwords”.

The Little Black Book of Scams, which is available from the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission), is a tool for consumers and small businesses to learn about scams including:

“the most common scams to watch out for

the different ways scammers can contact you

the tools scammers use to trick you

the warning signs

how to protect yourself, and

where you can find help.”

At the recent Global Summit of Women, one of the entrepreneurial breakout sessions dealt with how to protect your business in the internet age. Three speakers, Terri Janke, an Australian IP lawyer; Katherine Robins, Partner, Cybersecurity, Deloitte Australia, and Laura Affat, Cybersecurity adviser, Oracle (Australia), had some wonderful tips for business and personal use.  The session was moderated by the founder and CEO of Grupo AIA (Spain), Regina Llopis. Her company is a leading artificial intelligence software consultancy.

Here are just a few things the four women experts left Ruby contemplating:

On Phishing

Many people have seen or been scammed by phishing: which is defined as the attempt to obtain “financial or other confidential information from Internet users, typically by sending an email that looks as if it is from a legitimate organization, usually a financial institution, but contains a link to a fake website that replicates the real one.”

According to the panel four percent of people always click. The solution is to build a strong security culture in your business.  A phishing campaign will take just 16 minutes to get what it needs, but if you and your staff are wary you won’t be helping reduce that time.

Knowing your digital footprint

Each of the panel members stressed knowing and being aware of what your digital footprint looks like and understanding the value of data. Your digital footprint includes your use of social media, email, use of apps, internet banking, the security of work and personal devices, passwords, what malware and firewalls are in place. The list goes on and on.

Easy security wins

Here are some security strategies to consider, and they won’t cost you a fortune:

Research your ISP (Internet Service Provider), does it offer you protection;

Ensure the latest versions of malware, etc. are on your devices;

Change your wireless password;

Delete stuff, eg applications – they are ‘attack vectors’;

Shutdown devices when not in use;

Make sure updates are up to date;

Think about using the Cloud and blockchain, which is encrypted;

Be aware of personal data honey pots, for example, your boarding pass when you travel. Boarding passes can be scanned and are chock-a-block with personal information. Consider your luggage tags, as well.

The Australian Federal Government’s Stay Smart Online for personal and business protection is a practical, advice driven resource available to anyone to use. It will help you set up protection processes and systems, detect breaches and possible risk areas to your data, and help you correct problems or risk areas early.

This information should be used as a guide only. It does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs and you should consider its appropriateness before acting on it. We recommend that you seek independent expert advice about your specific circumstances.

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