08 October 2018 How to avoid the risk of cybercrime

In July 2018, Icon Agency was appointed by the Australian Cyber Security Centre to raise awareness of Stay Smart Online Week. More than six million Australian adults were hit by cybercrime last year. This is one in four Australians. This government initiative aims to reverse the threat of cybercrime and educate Australians on how to safe stay online. In celebration of the campaign launch, we’ve put together a go-to guide for all things cybercrime.

Cyberspace is a critical infrastructure which we all rely upon – but it’s easy to forget that we are at risk of a cyber-attack every second of every day. Consumers and businesses alike should be aware of potential future attacks on any service that relies on the internet, which when you think about it, is almost everything.

What is cybercrime?

  • Cybercrime refers to any type of criminal activity carried out by means of computers or the Internet. Common types of cybercrime include:
  • Identity theft
  • Your computer or other devices being hacked
  • Online fraud
  • Cyber bullying 
  • Online scams or phishing
  • Distribution of prohibited offensive and illegal content

What is at risk from a cyber-attack?

Anything that you share, post or access via your digital devices is at risk. This includes:

  • Customer records and personal information
  • Financial records
  • Business plans, like marketing, product design, patent applications and all their intellectual properties
  • Social media platforms

Threats to your business

Cyber criminals look for ways to exploit weaknesses in your business through unauthorised access of hardware, computers and mobile devices. Cyber criminals infect computers with viruses and malware, attacking your technology or website or by gaining access to information through your employees.

How to avoid a cyber attack

  1. The key to cyber defence is an end-to-end cyber security architecture that is multi-layered and spans all networks, mobile and cloud. But what can we do on a day-to-day basis to protect ourselves? There are five simple steps to consider.
  2. Strengthen your password: The best way is never to use a word that’s related to you (no birthdates!). Instead, develop passphrases – made up of at least four words and twelve characters - like ‘horsecupstarshoe’. And never, ever share a password with anyone.
  3. Be aware of stranger danger: Never open emails, links or files from a company or person that you do not know, or if the message or subject line looks crazy - and they’re offering you money! If it looks too good to be true, then it probably is.
  4. Keep up-to-date: Microsoft, Mac and Linux regularly publish updates to improve functionality and provide the latest security.
  5. Get certified: Install a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) certificate on your server. This will activate a lock and a http protocol that enables secure connections from a web server to a web browser.
  6. Secure your remote stations: With more and more people working at a distance and accessing data on the move, the risk of infection increases. Check that all providers use security measures such as permanent encryption based on a standard protocol.

What is good cyber security?

The three fundamental aspects of effective cyber security are people, processes and technology. While we may believe that technology will protect your critical assets, IBM (2016 Cyber Security Intelligence Index) found that 60% of all attacks were carried out by insiders.

A good strategy is to conduct a cyber security audit to identify the threats, vulnerability and risks the organisation faces as well as the impact of such risks materialising across areas like governance, data security and technical security controls.

Ultimately, the most effective strategy to mitigate and minimise the effects of a cyber-attack is to build a solid foundation upon which to grow your cyber security technology. This provides organisations with the confidence to build their cyber security strategies - and limits the opportunities for cybercrime to occur.

For more information on how to stay smart online, visit www.staysmartonline.gov.au