Australian Businesses Face Cybersecurity Risks During COVID-19

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COVID-19 caused an impact in many different sectors that we never imagined could have been affected by a disease. One of the unexpected sectors that was hit by the virus is the business sphere, particularly pertaining to their vulnerability to cyber attacks.

Because as if immune diseases were not enough, cyber criminals were ready to attack with digital viruses at the same time!

Cyber Viruses in Times of Corona

Malware has always been a threat to businesses, but during the coronavirus pandemic, businesses of all sizes and sectors had to resort to remote working.

Working from home opened a can of worms for every single business regarding cybersecurity, because rarely any company had taken the time to prepare their employees to understand the risks of not implementing the appropriate steps to safeguard their digital presence while working from home. 

According to YouGov on a study done for Crowdstrike, only half of Australian businesses are actively providing additional training regarding cybersecurity knowledge to their employees.

Failure to act proactively to train employees and team members with the right knowledge could increase the risk of falling victim to a victim of cyber crime. 

The research done by YouGov was put together after surveying more than 4,000 senior decision-makers from Singapore, the Netherlands, Japan, India, Great Britain, Germany, France, the U.S. and Australia to see how prepared and unprepared companies of all sizes were in general regarding cybersecurity measures. 

The results of the research showed that 89% of those who were surveyed were alarmingly positive regarding the sense of security they felt from their current cybersecurity practices, which were in fact minimal or non-existent. 

Adding further issues to the problem, 53% of all participants expressed that their company had not given any guidance regarding cybersecurity practices for remote workers. Why is this so alarming? Because most workers are using a combination of personal and professional devices to do their work. 

The Cost of Using Personal Devices for Remote Working 

While remote working certainly lessens a business’ expenses regarding equipment investment and rent payments, the savings could easily all quickly crumble down if employees do not employ the appropriate cybersecurity measures that are needed to safeguard a company’s digital information. 

According to the survey, 62% of all remote workers worldwide are using their personal devices to manage important business transactions, including two out of three senior business decision-makers. 

This is an alarmingly high percentage given the fact that personal devices generally lack the appropriate implementation of cybersecurity software – and we’re not talking about antivirus. 

The survey results showed that only 48% of small businesses provided their workers with devices to do their remote working. When it came to large-sized companies, 78% provided employees with company devices. The difference of the percentage between small and large businesses shows why small businesses seem to be at a higher risk of falling victim to cyber attacks. 

So, how much would a cyber attack cost a business? According to Business Victoria, the average cost of a cyber attack to an Australian business is around $276,000.

Do Business Leaders Realise They Have to Be Prepared?

According to the same survey commissioned by Crowdstrike, 47% of Australian business executives are under the belief that their business is prone to experiencing a severe cybercrime during the coronavirus pandemic in comparison to the risk faced before the virus.  

Although a large amount of business leaders seem to be aware of the risk they face during the pandemic, 9 out of 10 executives still naively believe their devices are secure, even without having checked if the appropriate criteria for cybersecurity was met by the employees’ devices. 

From all of the employees who participated in the survey, only half of all remote workers said they had been given additional cybersecurity training and education to learn about the risks of cyber attacks that were associated with working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

It’s no surprise that cyber criminals are taking advantage of the global pandemic. Hackers have always taken advantage of the fears and vulnerabilities that come with world chaos catastrophic events to prey on the public’s distraction. 

So, although many business executives and business leaders in Australia realise they are at a higher risk of cyber threats, they are still being led by overconfidence of the antivirus software that their employees may or may not be using on their equipment to act as a full cybersecurity filter. 

Getting hit by a cyber attack in the times of the pandemic poses a risk that would not only debilitate the businesses’ privacy integrity, but it could also cost the business its whole structure.

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