Security expert warns of the rise of cyber attacks

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The escalating military conflict in Ukraine has seen small and medium-sized businesses being urged to tighten up their cyber security measures, as overseas-based criminal organisations look for vulnerable targets beyond the area of the current conflict.

The Australian Cyber Security Centre has acknowledged the heightened threat environment and recently began urging all organisations to adopt what it calls an enhanced cyber security position.

Security expert Adam Hack,  says local businesses remain desperately unprepared for the threat of cyber attacks

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from adelaide now 7.3.22

South Australian small and medium-sized businesses are being urged to tighten up their cyber security measures in the wake of the escalating military conflict in Ukraine.

Adam Hack, who heads up security operations at Adelaide-based IT firm Nuago, says local businesses remain desperately unprepared for the threat of cyber attacks, which has intensified since tensions in Ukraine boiled over.

Mr Hack said unsuspecting local businesses could be targeted directly or indirectly by overseas-based criminal organisations looking for vulnerable targets beyond the area of the current conflict.

“While we’re not yet seeing direct attacks on SA SMEs as a result of the invasion, the overall threat level has definitely risen,” he said.

Nuago head of security operations Adam Hack. Picture: Morgan Sette

Nuago head of security operations Adam Hack. Picture: Morgan Sette

“The Australian Cyber Security Centre has acknowledged the heightened threat environment and recently began urging all organisations to adopt what it calls an enhanced cyber security position.

“Unfortunately, SMEs are often their own worst enemy when it comes to cyber security.

“Despite the heightened risk, it’s worrying that too many local businesses are unaware, unprepared and unprotected.”

A recent Business SA William Buck Survey of Business Expectations found more than 30 per cent of local SMEs had been the target of a scam or digital hack in the December quarter, but 42 per cent did not have a formal risk management plan in place to deal with cyber or fraud attacks.

Mr Hack said the most effective cyber risk mitigation strategies focused on measures to harden and protect an organisation’s ICT systems and accounts, as well as workforce education on risk awareness and safe online behaviour.

“This also includes looking at ways to improve collaboration and communication between the executive and staff so everyone is educated and empowered,” he said.

William Buck audit and assurance director Matthew King said the impacts of a cyber attack can be far-reaching.

“It can cause significant financial, productivity and data loss as well as reputational damage,” he said.

“Employees, customers and the whole supply chain can become compromised, which can have longer term consequences for your business.”

Mr Hack will present on cyber security risk and strategy at the upcoming William Buck Adelaide CFO Summit to be held at Adelaide Oval on April 6.

Other speakers will include Nova Systems chief executive Jim McDowell, former federal defence Minister Christopher Pyne, SA chief entrepreneur Andrew Nunn and Healthy Minds founder Dr Tom Nehmy.

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