Stay Smart Online

One of my customers had a very serious incident a couple of weeks back where by they were nearly defrauded out of $100,000 by an online scam.  The scam was very believable and well planned, and it was only through the awareness of the person being targeted that they became suspicious and didn’t pay the money.  I’ll provide more details on this in the May newsletter.  This business was a mid-sized, Queensland based business.  It doesn’t have a particularly high profile, but it appears to have been targeted from the US.

It got me thinking about whether this could have been prevented before the last line of defence, but after some investigation I realised that it couldn’t have been because it would have got passed any technical solutions that were or could have been put in place, because it looked so legitimate. 

We are now hearing of cyber threats and hacks virtually on a daily basis and it is becoming more and more crucial that businesses of all sizes are aware of on-line threats and that their cyber security defences are strong.  It doesn’t matter about the size of business or what industry it is in, everyone is at risk from cyber threats.  “It’ll never happen to me” doesn’t cut it any longer.

I’ve talked in previous blogs about having multiple layers of protection to ensure that if a malicious threat breaches one layer, there are layers below that can still stop it.  I’ve also talked about educating staff around cyber threats and even putting in place annual cyber security tests that staff need to pass to help maintain staff awareness. 

Unfortunately it is looking increasingly likely that cyber security providers are frequently going to be one step behind the hackers and criminals, who are developing even more ingenious and legitimate looking ways to scam and defraud us.  To that end, our staff have become an absolutely crucial part of protecting our business.  If the scam makes it through all of the layers of technology, we need our staff to be aware of the risks, be cyber smart and in some cases identify the threats.  They need to act as a last line of defence.  We need to educate and make our staff aware of the cyber threats posed not only to our business but also to them personally through their online use as this could also impact our business.

One website that I found is particularly good at educating people in a clear and non-technical way, is www.staysmartonline.gov.au which is an Australian government initiative.

The website contains very useful information around security on mobile devices, identity and Social Media etc and provides practical, easy to implement tips on how to stay safe online and how to protect your personal information.  It also has various quizzes which you can take to see how cyber smart you are.   There is a page dedicated to business owners that will again provide practical tips on how to protect your business.  One of the other good features of this website is that you can sign up for an email alert service, so that if any relevant cyber threats are discovered you will be emailed and this can be easily distributed to staff.  I recommend you visit the website and at least get some-one in your business to sign-up to alerts and be responsible for distributing to staff.

If you need any help or guidance around any aspect of cyber security, you should speak to your IT provider who will be able to advise you.

Stay Smart Online!

About the Author

Geoff Stewart is a highly experienced and skilled Technology Director at Surety IT. His knowledge is based on years of industry experience having created customised, stable, well performing systems both for multi-national companies in the UK and Australia and Surety IT customers.

Surety IT can help you create the right system to enhance your business, ensuring you know how it is right for you and how to use it. We will tailor a solution to suit your needs with leading systems, local support and more, building your vision for a more flexible and capable business.

Call us today on 1300 4 787 389 or email info@suretyit.com.au to discuss your requirements.