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Cyber Security - Is Your Business Protected?


Bekir Kilic
Bekir Kilic

The Australian newspaper on 8th July reported that Tony Abbott chaired a meeting of the country’s business chiefs to discuss how to deal with the growing threat of cyber attacks amid estimates the online assault is costing industry more than $1 billion a year.

The meeting comes as the government undertakes a review of the current cyber-security strategy assisted by a panel of representatives from the Business Council of Australia, Cisco Systems, Telstra and the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

The Prime Minister said “Strong cyber security is as important for Australia’s economic prosperity as it is for our national security.” Mr Abbott said government and businesses needed to work together “to fight those who wish to do us harm online”.

Recently I attended a Macquarie Graduate School of Management business seminar encouraging CEOs to take more of an active involvement in Cyber Security. The presenter was Dr Sally Ernst co-founder and MD of the UK and Australian Cyber Security Networks. After interviewing numerous CEOs Sally’s message was that there is “no problem” as most respondents did not believe that they would be affected.

The Australian newspaper also reported on the 29th July that Australia is coming under “unrelenting” attack from online security threats that have more than tripled in three years and are forecast to cost more than $1 billion in malicious damage from activity including crime and espionage.

Federal security agencies base their warnings on a 20 per cent increase in the number of cyber-security threats to 1131 incidents last year that triggered a response from the Australian Signals Directorate, the key spy agency within the Defence Department. The number of attacks has increased from 313 in 2011.

IT News on 28th July reports Android bug leaves a billion phones open to attack.
A security researcher has discovered what could be one of the worst vulnerabilities in Google’s Android mobile operating system to date, leaving close to a billion devices open to remote code execution.

Joshua Drake of security vendor Zimperium analysed gigabytes of source code for Android, and discovered that the Stagefright media library written in the C++ language – used for time-sensitive applications – is vulnerable to memory corruption.

Drake estimated that the Stagefright bug affects around 95 percent of all Android devices – equivalent to 950 million.

Businesses are being left vulnerable as staff side-step security protocols.

Some of the rules proposed by businesses trying to stay safe, can seem like they are designed just to make life difficult.

Not being able to download applications or have access to certain websites, as well as an emphasis on strong passwords and complications around working remotely, are just some of the common issues employees in businesses have to deal with.

Employees are increasingly using apps, cloud services, software and devices that are outside the knowledge and control of the CIO and IT staff.

Somewhere between 15% and up to 30% of IT spending now occurs outside the standard consolidated budget of the IT department, according to research from PWC.

On the one hand it’s important for businesses of all sizes to have the security solutions and protocols in place to protect their assets and it must always be remembered that people are in any business is the first line of defence, so making sure staff are up-to-date on best practices is a must.
It’s equally important however to ensure that what you have in place and the information being provided to employees isn’t over complicating the situation, which could encourage staff to sidestep rules and regulations in order to avoid a loss in productivity.

Executives must take charge and really understand the situation from their employee’s perspective in order to find a solution that allows people to work effectively, without leaving the business vulnerable.

Finding a happy medium is crucial, in allowing employees to take advantage of technology that drives productivity and business growth, without compromising the security of the network.

By understanding which apps, websites and other behaviours staff find useful to complete their work effectively and efficiently, it should be possible to work out bespoke solutions and approaches to protocol that provide the best of both worlds.

Ultimately, people are an organisation’s first line of defence, so getting the team on board and up-to-speed is what will make the real difference.


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