Cyber attacks: Signs your business is ripe for an attack
Insights 5 minutes read

Cyber attacks: Signs your business is ripe for an attack

Published on
June 28, 2024

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and a few minutes of cyber-incident to ruin it,” as the internationally recognised cybersecurity expert, Stephane Nappo, famously said.  

No doubt, the game has changed and the stakes are higher: In today’s digital age, cyber attacks have become increasingly common and sophisticated.  

In fact, businesses of all sizes are targets, making it crucial to understand the risks and take proactive measures to protect sensitive data and maintain operations.  

For starters, cyber attacks can result in significant financial losses, reputational damage, and operational disruptions.   

The latest statistics reveal concerning trends. According to the Notifiable Data Breaches report from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC), there were 483 notified breaches, marking a 19% increase from 407 breaches in January to June 2023.  

Malicious or criminal attacks were responsible for the majority (67%) of these breaches, followed by human error (30%) and system faults (3%). 

The report underscores significant breaches across key sectors, with health services providers leading at 104 incidents, followed by finance (49), insurance (45), retail (39), and the Australian Government (38). 

These figures underscore a pervasive cross-industry challenge as cyber security incidents continue to rise sharply. 

So, what should every business do to mitigate attacks?  

First, let’s explore the differences between cyber attacks and cyber threats, identify signs your business might be at risk, and provide guidance on mitigating these risks.

What is the difference between a cyber attack and a cyber threat?

A cyber attack is an attempt by cybercriminals to infiltrate, damage, or destroy computer systems, networks, or data. Cyber attacks are intentional and malicious actions taken to exploit vulnerabilities for various purposes, such as stealing data, disrupting services, or demanding ransoms. 

A cyber threat, on the other hand, is a potential danger that can exploit a vulnerability to breach security and cause harm. Cyber threats include malware, phishing attempts, and social engineering tactics. Unlike attacks, threats may not always result in damage, but indicate a possibility of future attacks. 

Signs your business is at risk

Nappo goes on to say: “If you think you know-it-all all about cyber security, this discipline was probably ill-explained to you.”  

In fact, education is the key in the cyber security journey – and you can never know enough – so let’s take a look at some essential areas where continuous learning and awareness can make a significant impact on your business’ security posture. 

Here are 7 important weaknesses:  

Sign #1: Outdated software and systems

Using outdated software and systems can leave your business vulnerable to cyber attacks. Cybercriminals often exploit known vulnerabilities in outdated software to gain unauthorised access. Regular updates and patches are essential to close security gaps and protect against potential threats. Risks include data breaches, unauthorised access, and operational disruptions. 

Sign #2: Lack of employee training

Employees are often the first line of defence against cyber attacks, making it crucial to provide regular cyber security training. Untrained employees may fall victim to phishing scams, inadvertently download malware, or fail to follow security protocols. The risks include compromised data, financial losses, and reputational damage.  

Sign #3: Weak password policies

Weak or reused passwords are a significant security risk. Cybercriminals can easily crack simple passwords or use credentials obtained from other breaches. Implementing strong password policies, including multi-factor authentication (MFA), can significantly reduce the risk of unauthorised access. Risks include data theft, unauthorised access, and system compromise. 

Sign #4: Insufficient network security

A lack of robust network security measures can leave your business exposed to cyber attacks. Firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and regular network monitoring are critical components of a secure network infrastructure. Risks include data breaches, malware infections, and service disruptions. 

Sign #5: Absence of a cyber security plan

Without a comprehensive cyber security plan, your business is ill-prepared to handle potential threats. A cyber security plan should include risk assessments, incident response protocols, and regular security audits. The absence of such a plan can lead to uncoordinated responses to attacks, prolonged downtimes, and increased recovery costs. 

Sign #6: Unsecured remote work policies

With the rise of remote work, unsecured remote access can be a significant vulnerability. Ensuring secure connections, using VPNs, and implementing remote access policies are essential to protect remote workers and company data. Risks include unauthorised access, data breaches, and malware infections.  

Sign #7: Poor data backup practices

Inadequate data backup practices can exacerbate the impact of a cyber attack. Regular, secure backups ensure that you can recover data in the event of an attack, minimising downtime and data loss. Risks include prolonged recovery times, data loss, and operational disruptions. 

Reduce your cyber risk with Interactive’s expert team

That’s why it’s important to get the help you need. Interactive, for its part, offers a comprehensive suite of cybersecurity services designed to protect your business from cyber attacks. The expert team can help you identify vulnerabilities, implement robust security measures, and provide ongoing monitoring and support.  

Services such as Managed Azure Sentinel, security assessments, and consulting can help mitigate risks and ensure your business remains secure. For instance, phishing attacks can be mitigated using Azure’s advanced threat protection features, while the managed security services offer continuous monitoring and response. 

By staying vigilant and proactive, you can significantly reduce your business’s risk of falling victim to cyber attacks. 

For insights on how to protect your business, visit www.interactive.com.au.

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