Bendigo cyber security expert Brenton Johnson addresses the challenges for businesses in the digital age

A Bendigo-based cyber security expert has warned of the modern perils of the online digital world.

Uptake Digital founder Brenton Johnson said cyber crime had become more prevalent in recent years.

“Everybody needs to take cyber safety more seriously, particularly businesses,” Mr Johnson said.

“This isn’t something that people can ignore and think it will never happen to them.

“It occurs every day and if they’re badly compromised as a result of an attack, they can be put completely out of business.”

The Cyber Security Review, led by the Australian Government found that cyber crime has a $1 billion impact on the national economy each year.

This includes attacks such as email phishing, malware, ransomware and a range of other digital techniques which can be used to compromise businesses and individuals.

Mr Johnson said the use of email was a common method used to “scam” users.

“Impersonating someone from a business to gain trust is something that a lot of people are still falling for,” Mr Johnson said.

Methods include sending fake invoices with the threat of having accounts cut off unless money is sent within what is normally a fairly small time frame.

The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman indicated small businesses were the target of 43 per cent of all cyber attacks, and as a result of a serious attack 60 per cent will close down within six months after the breach.

Cyber attacks throughout central Victoria are not uncommon.

“We deal with a cyber security incident at least twice per month, they happen all the time as there is so much money to be made these days,” Mr Johnson said.

Methods which can be adopted to help prevent, or lessen the impact of a cyber attack include: backing up data regularly, limiting access to administrator accounts on networks, frequently changing passwords and always updating security applications.

Mr Johnson held a workshop for the Bendigo Small Business Festival to teach businesses from throughout the region about cyber security.​

Workshop attendee, Strategem CEO Shaun Langdon said cyber security was “paramount” to the business.

“We invest a lot of money within cyber security to protect not only our data, but our clients’ data too,” Mr Langdon said.

“The business takes it very seriously to ensure we can continue to be trusted advisors for all of our clients.

“Cyber security is not a one time thing, it’s an ongoing process and if not managed it (cyber attacks) can evolve very quickly.”​

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