Cyber Threats to Your Business

Updated December 14th 2020

With the immense pressure businesses are currently facing, it’s easy to neglect things like cyber security, which is a critical element to keeping your business running.

Hackers and scammers will target a business when they think their guard is down, don’t be caught out.

Regardless of your business size, if you have a database of customer information, you need to do everything possible to protect your customers.

Below are some of the most common types of cyber threats that businesses may face and what you can do about it.

Malicious Software (Malware)

Malicious software (usually known as Malware) is a blanket term which includes viruses, spyware, trojans and worms. They are unauthorised software designed to cause harm.

Malware gains access to important information such as your banking details, credit card numbers and password. Some tips to help protect you against malware include automatically updating your computer software applications and operations, using a reputable anti virus and anti-malware software and regularly backing up your business data.

Scam Emails (Phishing)

Scam Emails (known as phishing) are designed to trick recipients out of money and data. They may mimic the way certain brands or companies layout their emails to try and appear real in order to bait you into clicking a link or attachment.

Scam emails can be generally broken down into three categories:

  • Phishing: generally emails with very obvious warning signs that they are dodgy and sent to thousands of targets
  • Spear Phishing: Fraudulent messages that are sent to a specific person, usually the business owner, receptionist or finance and payroll manager
  • Whaling: Messages usually aimed at high level targets such as CEO

Phishing is not limited to emails only as you can now be targeted via SMS and also through social media.

Some things you should be cautious of when looking out for phishing emails and messages are if they are requesting for money, especially if urgent or overdue, if they have included attachments without much context or in a strange file format, there are links for you to click to request to check or confirm your login details.


Ransomware is malware that can lock down your computer and files and ask for a ransom to have these unlocked. They are typically carried out through legitimate looking email links or attachments that when downloaded or opened, the ransomware will encrypt your files and then demand a ransom to restore access – typically asking for cryptocurrency payments.

It should be also known that most small to medium businesses in Australia are not prepared to deal with ransomware attacks. To prevent and help recover from ransomware attacks, it is important to regularly update your operating systems and software, as well as back up your business data.

Procedures for Prevention of Cyber Attacks

Small businesses generally lack the resources for a dedicated IT staff to help the business apply security measures. It is important for your internal processes to be one of the last and most important lines of defence in protecting your business from cyber security threats.

Some tips in helping protect your business include:

  • Regulating who can access what within your business’ computing environment
  • Using a passphrase or sentence as your password instead of one word
  • Using multi-factor authentication
  • Educating staff and yourself to protect against cyber threats
  • Having a cyber security incident response plan

For more articles, see our Summer Bulletin