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You, Your Business and Cyber Security

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No matter where you look these days you will always find someone using a smart phone, tablet or laptop. Whether they are doing business, shopping or just surfing the net, we live in a world where everyone wants everything yesterday. Have you ever stopped to consider how safe or secure your information is against a potential cyber attack?

The Australian Government defines cyber security as:

“measures relating to the confidentiality, availability and integrity of information that is processed stored and communicated by electronic or similar means”.

These days, more and more businesses are leaving themselves open to cyber threats either because of a lack of knowledge or an aversion to properly dealing with a threat that has already happened. In business, understanding cyber security is as important as understanding your bottom line. As with any risk management though, there is no one size fits all solution.

The internet has become the centre of modern day business. At the same time it has also become one of its major threats.  A cyber attack on a business can be simple, like being locked out of a device or website, or quite sophisticated where confidential customer records stolen can be in the tens of millions.

One such example of a cyber attack is ransomware. This is where a business is locked out until they pay a “ransom”. More often than not a business will pay the requested fee, fail to report it and then find themselves in the same position again because they did nothing to prevent further attacks.

There is an increasing demand from government regulators to ensure that businesses have adequate data protection in place. Failure to effectively manage cyber security can lead to business disruption, theft of confidential data or fraud as a result of obtaining personal information.

Cyber risk management is a complex area and cyber insurance, whilst relatively new, is being seen as an effective tool that can help you manage your risk. Businesses should proactively evaluate how cyber insurance can meet their needs. It is an ever evolving market as insurance companies seek to expand into new cyber risk areas, such as lost intellectual property and brand, or cyber related failures in infrastructure.

Strong passwords are an effective way towards building your cyber barricade. Many software applications also offer another level of security known as two-step verification. When setting up two-step verification, you register one or more trusted devices that can receive a number verification code via SMS. Each time you then sign in from a new device, you will need to verify your identity by entering your password and your verification code.

The following table illustrates how long it will take for a password to be hijacked based on its length and complexity:

8  Characters

9  Characters 10 Characters 11 Characters 12 Characters
Lower case 208 seconds 90 minutes 39 hours 42 days 3 years
LC+ upper case 14 hours 32 days 4½ years 238 years 12,394 years
LC + UC + numbers 2½ days 6 months 26 years 1,650 years 102,304 years
LC + UC + N + Special 70 days 18 years 1,707 years 169,546 years 15,091,334 years

By simply making a few changes to a password, you can substantially increase the time it will take to crack it. It is also a good idea to change your password regularly to reset the time frame.

The online way of doing business is here to stay so make it your business to stay ahead of potential cyber threats by being cyber secure.