It’s important to keep your business, staff and client information secure. Below are some tips to help protect you against the growing threat of Cyber Crime in Australia.

Ensure your passwords are strong and secure

Regularly change passwords and do not share them.

Use multi-factor authentication where possible. Multi-factor authentication requires users to provide multiple pieces of information to authenticate themselves – for example, a text message to your phone when logging in to a website.

As a business owner, remember:

  • multi-factor authentication puts an additional layer of security on your accounts – it can make it harder for others to access your account
  • strong passwords with a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols are harder to hack.

Remove system access from people who no longer need it

Immediately remove access for people who:

  • no longer work for your business
  • have changed positions and no longer require access.

Unauthorised access to systems by past employees is a common cause of identity security or fraud issues for businesses.

Ensure all devices have the latest available security updates

Run weekly anti-virus and malware scans and have up-to-date security software.

Instances of malicious software (malware) are increasing. It can be easy to accidentally click on an email or website link which can infect your computer.

In some instances, your device may be impacted by ransomware. Ransomware can:

  • lock your computer until you pay a fee to criminals
  • install software which provides access to your bank accounts, allowing criminals to steal your business’s money.

Do not use USBs or external hard drives from an unfamiliar source

USBs and external hard drives may contain malware, which can infect your business computers without you noticing.

It can cost your business a lot of money to repair the damage.

Stolen information could be used to commit crimes, often in your business’s name.

Use a spam filter on your email account

Do not open any unsolicited messages.

Be wary of downloading attachments or opening email links you receive, even if they are from a person or business you know. They can infect your computer with malware and lead to your business or client information being used to commit fraud.

Spam emails can be embedded with malware and can be used to trick you into:

  • providing information
  • paying fraudulent invoices
  • buying non-legitimate goods.

Secure your wireless network and be careful when using public wireless networks

Avoid making online transactions while using public or complimentary wi-fi.

Not all wi-fi access points are secure. By making online transactions (such as online banking) on an unsecure network, you can put your information and money at risk.

Monitor your accounts for unusual activity or transactions

Check your accounts (including bank accounts, digital portals and social media) for transactions or interactions you did not make, or content you did not post.

If an organisation you deal with sends you an email alerting you to unexpected changes on your account:

  • don’t click on included hyperlinks
  • don’t log on to the organisation’s website by using links or attachments included in the email.

You should immediately:

  • check those accounts
  • contact the organisation by phone.

Do not download programs or open attachments unless you know the program is legitimate

Some programs contain malware that can infect your computer (including ransomware which locks your files until you pay a criminal), or be used to harvest your sensitive personal and business information.

Be sure you are downloading authorised and legitimate programs. Unless you know the program is legitimate, do not open attachments or download programs.

A printable guide from the ATO for businesses can be found here.