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Tips for businesses to stay safe at home, online

For many businesses, the drastic shift to working from home helped flatten the spread of COVID-19 - but it also left them vulnerable to cyber-attacks.


Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced in June a “sophisticated and state-based cyber actor” had launched attacks on “all levels of government, industry, political organisations, education, health, essential service providers and operators of other critical infrastructure”.


If a further wake-up call was needed about cyber threats, this was it.


And it’s something Lynwen Connick, ANZ’s Chief Information Security Officer at ANZ, is all too familiar with.


Prior to joining ANZ in 2017, Lynwen worked at the federal department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and also for the Department of Defence so she’s highly qualified to provide tips on how businesses can keep themselves secure, both during this critical time and into the future.


“One of the things the Prime Minister said in his announcements about these attacks is this is a responsibility that all organisations have to take seriously,” Lynwen says. “It’s really important that people in organisations understand their role in keeping their organisation secure.”


Sadly, but all too commonly, times of hardship attract criminals.


“It’s really sad that cyber criminals take advantage of people and organisations when they’re more vulnerable, when you’ve got a crisis,” Lynwen says. “We saw this before the COVID-19 situation with the bushfires in Australia. There were criminals targeting people because they were vulnerable, when they might not be thinking correctly. And it’s happened again during COVID-19.”



Plenty of Phish


Since the end of February, reports of phishing emails have increased more than 600%. The FBI estimates the risk of cyber compromise is currently 3 to 4 times higher as a result of COVID-19 related activity.


“The statistics show there’s just so much more activity happening with people trying to exploit all of us while we’re going through a crisis like this,” Lynwen says. “We’ve seen so many of those emails crafted to exploit people who might not be thinking properly or are anxious. They’ll often click on a link without scrutinising it enough.


“It’s absolutely a critical issue for small businesses but even individuals in their own homes,” she says.


Large businesses often have good cyber security practices in place. Lynwen explains cyber criminals are aware that larger organisations are likely to be well protected and so will attack smaller organisations which they perceive to be less secure.


“Because often people don’t have the security resources in place, they feel vulnerable to those attacks. Criminals know that and will target them,” she says. “It’s really important that small businesses as well as large businesses put in place measures to make sure they’re not as vulnerable to those sorts of attacks.


“There’s a range of things they can do to make sure they’re safe online, because it’s often not as hard as people think.”


How to stay safe online


If you’re not a technology savvy person it can be quite daunting to think about how you protect yourself because you just don’t know what’s possible. Lynwen and the team at ANZ use the acronym PACT to help break it down for people to understand.





Lynwen follows these steps at home with her family too, ensuring she discusses online safety with her children.


“We talk to our children about making sure they don’t share sensitive information with people online, particularly when they don’t know who those people are,” Lynwen says. “We ask them if they see anything suspicious to let us know. If anything looks unusual, or not quite right, you need to call it out.


“The really good news for businesses is that it’s not as hard as many people think to take security measures that will protect them from many of the threats we see impacting small and large businesses across the country and across the world,” she says.



Listen to the podcast above to hear the full conversation.


Access the ANZ Security Centre for more Cybersecurity tips.


For more stories from ANZ small businesses and how they’re managing COVID-19 visit ANZ News.


For the latest information on COVID-19 visit anz.com/covid-19.



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