Working from home sees spike in cyber-scams

An increase in the number of Australians working from home due to COVID-19 has resulted in a surge in remote access cyber-scams, Commonwealth Bank of Australia has revealed.

According to the bank’s Group Chief Information Security Officer, Keith Howard, ransomware and business email compromise scams have increased significantly since the start of the pandemic, impacting businesses of all shapes and sizes.

“The cost of cybercrime to the Australian economy is increasing every year, and every day we hear stories from our customers, including business customers, who are dealing with the financial and emotional costs of cybercrime,” Mr Howard said.

Data from the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) found cyberattacks on Australian businesses are costing the economy $29 billion a year.

Last financial year, an average of 164 cybercrimes were reported to the ACSC on a daily basis. Further, 62 per cent of small businesses admitted to being affected by a cyber security incident.

To help address this ever increasing issue, Mr Howard said the bank had launched a range of cyber resources for business customers to help them understand the risks and improve their cyber security.

“We regularly publish cyber information for our customers on our CommBank Business Secure page where businesses can read our cyber security report, Signals, or get the latest tips on how to be cyber savvy,” he said.

“We are also engaging customers and businesses across the country, in every state and territory, helping them to understand the risks they face and the steps they can take to become more resilient through focusing on securing their people, processes and technology.

“Many businesses feel that cyber security is too technical, complex or expensive to deal with, but a cyber security attack has the ability to negatively impact a business, along with suppliers and customers, so there’s never been a more important time for businesses to take steps to ensure their information is protected online.

“A large part of what makes cyber security complex and intimidating is the increasingly sophisticated technology. Thankfully however, there are some simple tips people can follow to protect themselves online. That is why it’s really important everyone understands how to make cyber security a part of their day to day.”

“A big part of my job at the bank is engaging everyone from our senior executives to our frontline employees, on how being cyber secure can help protect our organisation, our customers and the community.”

To celebrate Cyber Security Awareness month, Commonwealth Bank is hosting a virtual panel discussion about practical cyber security tips for businesses, featuring ANU University professor, Lesley Seebeck; Our Community Managing Director, Denis Moriarty; and Keith Howard.

Businesses and not-for-profits can also attend one of the bank’s cyber webinars available on demand. The series of webinars cover a range of topics, including: how prepared is your business to respond to imminent cyber-attack? How prepared are you for a ransomware attack? What steps are you missing to avoid becoming a victim of cybercrime? And, how might you prepare today to avoid the worst tomorrow?

In addition to watching the webinars, Mr Howard said there were some easy steps businesses could take to improve their cyber security.

“Australian businesses need to ensure they update their operating systems and applications on their computers and phones; ensure all staff are using strong and unique passwords; establish robust payment processes with multiple approvers; train staff on how to recognise suspicious emails; and set expectations with staff on how to handle corporate and customer data securely,” he said.

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