6 Ways to Protect Corporate Networks from Security Risks
Posted on August 25, 2017
The world has never been more connected.
The Internet of Things (networks of connected devices) is becoming more mainstream. Home assistants, crop management systems and conveyor belts loaded with smart sensors are being rolled out across businesses around the world.
Artificial intelligence is becoming less of a science fiction story and more of a science fact, with social media giant Facebook recently forced into pulling the plug on two chatbots—Alice and Bob—after they developed their own language to communicate with each other.
The story of the bots went viral, but also raised the topic of security once again. Just how smart is too smart? And with connectivity growing exponentially, just how safe are we from hackers and identification theft?
Cyber attacks on the rise in Australia
Australian companies have already fallen victim to two major cyber attacks this year.
Global law firm DLA Piper's Australian offices had their computers locked down by Petya ransomware, with the attackers refusing to release the machines until a fee was paid in bitcoin.
Another ransomware program, known as WannaCrypt or WannaCry, smashed 200,000 victims in 150 countries in May. Eight Australian businesses were among the victims.
A recent cyber crime report revealed that attack levels in Asia Pacific are growing 35 per cent, year on year. In Australia alone, the rate of cyber crime has doubled in the last year - a cyber security report by Telstra showed.
What Australia is doing to prevent cyber crime
An alliance has been forged between Australia and Asian nations to work together in stopping hackers in the Asia-Pacific.
An agreement was signed in Bangkok in June 2017 that will see Australia form a partnership with Thailand, Singapore and China on security and cybercrime.
Australia's Ambassador for Cybercrime Tobias Feakin said working together is vital.
"Criminals and nefarious actors can adapt and absorb all (this information) so much quicker than governments," he said.
"So if we're not talking about it, sharing best practice and keeping on the move as well, we will soon find ourselves behind by quite a margin.”
The Australian Government has also recently given authorisation for its cyber intelligence agency to preemptively strike overseas hackers using military grade software.
"Our response to criminal cyber threats should not just be defensive," Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said. "We must take the fight to the criminals."
Businesses with a turnover of over $3 million in Australia will be obligated to report data breaches from next year onwards, following the successful introduction of the Privacy Amendment (Notifiable Data Breaches) Bill 2016.
This mandatory data breach notification legislation will create greater transparency for consumers when their personal data becomes compromised.
America puts the brakes on IoT as security fears mount
Fears over the security of Internet of Things devices have prompted American senators to put forward a bill calling for all new devices to require government scrutiny, before being released on the market.
The move comes as the bipartisan group of senators accused the IoT industry of an "obvious market failure”', with little incentives on offer for developers to include cyber security in their devices.
What you can do to protect your business
There are a range of different measures businesses can take to limit the chances of becoming a victim of cyber crime. They include:
- Ensuring all operating systems are updated and regularly patched
- Ensure your business network has a firewall and software capable of combating virus, spyware and phishing attacks
- Consider disk encryption software, which means stolen data is effectively unreadable to the attacker.
- Cloud computing is being adopted more and more by businesses, which also presents a target to hackers. Make sure anything uploaded into the cloud is also encrypted.
- Educate your staff on email safety, to avoid a staff member unwittingly clicking on a malicious link.
- Use internet filters to block access to suspicious websites.