Ombudsman’s tips to protect your business from a cyber attack

- October 19, 2022 3 MIN READ
hand holding warning sign

Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Bruce Billson, is urging all businesses to stay secure online and protect themselves from a cyber attack.

The recent cyber attack against Optus is a terrible reminder that companies of all sizes can be vulnerable.

Sadly, we know that vast numbers of small and family businesses every year are being compromised and, in some cases, profoundly damaged by a range of scams and cyber attacks.

I urge time-poor small business owners and managers to stay secure online and practice good cyber hygiene habits.

Smart steps to protect against a cyber attack

You wouldn’t leave the shop unlocked when you go home at night, or your van or vehicle with the keys in it and motor running. So please don’t leave your online business similarly vulnerable.

There are simple steps that you need to make time to do:

  • Secure your accounts by turning on multi-factor authentication.
  • Change passwords and use strong passwords/passphrases.
  • Turn on automatic software updates for all your devices, including servers and phones, to ensure you have the latest security protection.
  • Regularly back up your files and devices.
  • When making payments, double-check the account number you are sending money to and consider using eInvoicing and payID.
  • Prepare your staff by training them what to do if they think they’ve clicked a malicious link.
  • Know who has access to your data and implement some form of access control:
    • Does the computer need to be where everyone can access it?
    • Does that app need access to all of your files?
    • Is it best to us that app to log in to everything?

Importantly, trust your own judgement – listen to your ‘spidey senses’. We often hear hacking victims say, ‘It didn’t quite look right but I clicked it anyway’, and then later realised the sender wasn’t right or the link had a different address to what they thought it would.

My clear message is don’t be on autopilot. If it doesn’t look right, feel right or make sense, then don’t click it and seek help from a trusted adviser.

The Australian Cyber Security Centre has declared October to be Cyber Security Awareness Month and is releasing updated step-by-step guides to help individuals and businesses protect themselves against, and respond to, cyber threats.

This includes a tool to help you assess if you’ve been hacked, by guiding you through a range of scenarios with advice on how to best respond.

ACSC has a Small Business Cyber Security Guide developed to help small businesses protect themselves from the most common cyber security incidents.

If you believe you have fallen victim to cyber crime, you should immediately contact

If you are concerned that your identity has been compromised, contact the national identity and cyber support service: IDCARE.

Director ID deadline

Many small business owners don’t realise that if they run a company or a registered body, or are a director of one, then they are required to have a director identification number (Director ID).

The deadline to register is 30 November.

You do not need a Director ID if you are running a business as a sole trader or partnership. But this can be confusing, so it is worth checking with a trusted adviser or the Federal Government’s Australian Business Registry Services.

It is free to apply, you only need to apply once, and you keep your 15-digit Director ID number forever.

Director ID has been introduced to crackdown on the use of false or fraudulent director identities and catch people who might engage in illegal ‘phoenix’ activity, move interstate or even change their name.

Illegal phoenix activity is when a company is liquidated, wound up or abandoned to avoid paying its debts. A new company is then started to continue the same business activities without the debt. Yet employees miss out on wages, superannuation and entitlements, suppliers or sub-contractors are left unpaid, and other businesses are put at a competitive disadvantage.

This article first appeared on Kochie’s Business Builders, read the original here.

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How to protect your home network from hackers: Security is easier than you think!

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