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What Australian cyber-attacks mean for your small business


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A cyber attack could easily sink your business, yet many Aussies continue to underestimate their risk.

On Friday, Scott Morrison urged Australian businesses to improve their cyber security, as a major cyber attack is currently threatening valuable data.

"Australian organisations are currently being targeted by a sophisticated state-based cyber actor," said Morrison. "We know it is a sophisticated state-based cyber actor because of the scale and nature of the targeting and the trade craft used."

Despite the stark warning, one cyber expert says Australian SMEs continue to underestimate their risk, with many assuming they're too small to be considered a target.

"When cyber attacks happen on a mass scale like we're seeing today, there is often little to no consideration as to who is being targeted," said James Crowther, head of cyber insurance for CyberCare. "Just because you're a small business, doesn't mean you're not a target."

Crowther also told Finder that a cyber attack can cripple a small business, if leaders and employees aren't prepared.

"It's usually a major distraction from the core business because it's something they don't typically have the experience to manage," he said. "It creates an incredible amount of stress on management just to continue with business operations."

The interruption typically leads to significant losses of revenue for the business, but it can also damage consumer trust if personal data is exposed.

However, increasing awareness of the risk is leading more small businesses to adopt cyber insurance, which is designed to help companies prevent attacks and respond to incidents. It can also cover the cost of recovering data and getting the business back up and running.

"A good insurer should have a dedicated incident response team which essentially acts as crisis management when the small business suffers an attack," said Crowther.

"That team is made of cyber and IT experts that the insurer has partnered with, and they're tasked with the job of investigating, remediating and restoring the systems quickly and efficiently because time is of the essence."

Picture: GettyImages

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