Cyber Attacks: 3 steps to protect your business

Date: 14th August 2017

As we’ve been hearing in the media, cyber attacks directed at businesses are on the rise. The impact of these viruses and malware is potentially damaging, but your business needn’t become victim if you follow a few simple steps.

Impact of a cyber attack

The impact of a cyber attack can be as minor as your device running slowly or as major as lost data, stolen money and damage to your reputation. At worst, cyber attacks can shut down your business and have lasting impacts on people’s lives.

According to a 2016 Norton New Zealand SMB Cyber Security Survey, almost one in five small businesses in New Zealand have been targeted by a cyber attack, with an average loss of $19,000.

The Wannacry ransomware in May this year, which denied users access to their online files until a ransom was paid, is just one example of how malicious software can damage a business.

How to protect your business

There’s no sure-fire way to prevent an attack. However, we suggest these three simple, practical steps to reduce the risk.

1. Back up data and services

Backing up your computer, phone, apps or other devices means copying and storing the information in a separate location like cloud storage or a separate hard drive. If you are hit by ransomware attack, you won’t lose your data or be forced into paying money to get it back.

More about storing and protecting your data

2. Use up-to-date operating systems

If one of your devices alerts you to an update, don’t ignore it. The latest updates or versions often patch or repair any new vulnerabilities to cyber attacks.

Sometimes updating your system is as easy as restarting your computer or device. Other times, you may have to manually accept any new updates. You may be able to set your device’s system preferences to update automatically.

3. Keep your passwords safe

  • Use long, strong passwords, eg, mixture of upper and lower case, digits and other random characters such as #$@%.
  • Change any password that comes with a new device as soon as you get it.
  • Don’t use the same password for all your sites or staff. Hackers could get access to all your most sensitive information in one hit.
  • Do not store your passwords on your online systems or devices — this makes them too easy to find.

What to do if you get attacked

Report any cyber security problems to CERT NZ using their free online tool, or by phoning them on 0800 CERT NZ (0800 2378 69) within NZ, or +64 3 966 6295 from overseas. They’ll help you identify the problem and how to resolve it. CERT NZ works closely with partner agencies like Netsafe and NZ Police, and will pass on incidents as required.

More information from CERT NZ

Recent threats and what to do

Cyber security and your business

Getting started with cyber security

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