Customer and financial data is being put at risk because small and medium-sized businesses are waiting until it is too late to shore up online security measures.
While businesses are more aware than ever that cyber security is needed, Bendigo Telco executive general manager Jarrod Draper said many are waiting for serious attacks to happen before they respond in earnest.
His comments came as cyber security company Fortinet sent its FortiExpress mobile cyber crime unit to Bendigo this week to help businesses catch up, and as new government grants were launched to help small businesses test their defences.
Small business and family enterprise ombudsman Kate Carnell said cyber criminals were directing more attacks at small businesses.
One in five small businesses were reporting they had been targeted, she said, citing research showing over half either did not have cyber crime protection or assumed it is covered through their business insurance.
Ms Carnell said small businesses needed to understand that anti-virus software only provided a certain level of protection and it could leave them open to loss of data, compromised financial security and identity theft.
Mr Draper said businesses were moving more of their work online.
“What we refer to as the ‘attack surface’ is just becoming bigger and bigger,” he said.
Mr Draper said attacks could include from malware, where people were using emails and other online communication tools to trick people into clicking links, inadvertently installing hostile software.
Other attacks included “social engineering” scams, where emails were used to fool people into thinking they needed to change details registered with a company, allowing others to gain sensitive security data.
Sometimes, people were simply attacking internet services and trying to deny them service.
Mr Draper said the business community was getting better at responding to cyber attacks, with large organisations in particular making them a top strategic priority.
“If you went back three to five years ago, that may not have been the case,” he said.
For more on new grants that are available, click here.
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