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Is NZ Vulnerable To Cyber-Attacks? And What Does That Mean To You?

In 2019, hackers infiltrated Texas local body government computer systems. They seized control, blocked access to vital data, and demanded a huge ransom. Is NZ vulnerable to similar attacks?

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Security is a major business objective

In 2019, hackers infiltrated Texas local body government computer systems. They seized control, blocked access to vital data, and demanded a huge ransom. Is NZ vulnerable to similar attacks?.

The Texas government learned from the $10 million Baltimore disaster and paid out the $2.5 million ransom demand quickly, regained control, and patched the leak. But they didn’t learn their lesson and in 2020 was hacked again, using ransomware that invaded computers and encrypted files in the transportation department.

Closer to home, Australia has been facing increased cyber attacks from overseas. Malicious attacks from sophisticated entities targeted a range of Australian sectors, both private and government. This has resulted in increased controls and defenses against the attackers.

1. Why worry about cyber-attacks?

Cyber attacks are dangerous in a range of ways:

  • Release of private, personal, or confidential information. This is a risk for all organizations- businesses having customer details shared, or sensitive financial information. For governments, the risk of almost anything going public is enormous.
  • I am holding computer systems to hostage. This means no access to information, and the possibility of data being destroyed.
  • Mis-use of computer systems. This is hugely worrying; traffic light controls, operating power plants, almost anything that can be controlled remotely can also be taken over and used maliciously.
  • Loss of money. The goal for some hackers is income from extortion. Also, businesses may lose money- and trust- from their users.

Should You Be Afraid of 5G Its Top Security Threats Revealed

These threats aren’t just from a hacker in a darkened bedroom somewhere either; business competitors, state threats, and organizations such as Anonymous all have various aims or goals. If you want to Protect from cyber-attacks use any of  the antivirus software of these two Mcafee vs avast.

2. Does this matter to you?

As an individual, a business owner, or citizen, this is a threat that you should be worried about. Not just for your data’s privacy, your business’s compliance with GRC and security, or to stay safe in an increasingly digital Tech world, but for the safety of your country.

While security affects your workplace, your ability to work securely from home, and the ramifications from that, there are also other much broader implications.

3. What is NZ doing about cybersecurity?

Eight years as Prime Minister, Sir John said his roles on the board of the cybersecurity company Palo Alto Networks & as the chairperson of ANZ Bank New Zealand, had given him insights into the escalating threats New Zealand businesses face.

“Individuals, companies, governments they play by the rules,” said Sir John, who spoke alongside Microsoft Managing Director, Vanessa Sorenson, at the launch of Umbrellar Connect.

Everyone, from individuals to the state, needs to keep their systems safe from cybercrime.

Individuals: Consider having a password system such as LastPass, which allows you to securely store passwords, create complex random passwords, and detect if passwords are too weak. This means your log-ins are far more secure and less likely to be hacked.

Have a tricky password for your Wi-Fi (not 12345678 or ‘password123’). Also, think about your IoT, and all digital-enabled items in your home need to be protected. A smart refrigerator was hacked in 2014 and used to send spam – all smart devices run this risk.

Website Security Tips

If you work from home and have secure access to your employer’s computer system, ensure you follow all best practices. Don’t log on in insecure connections, don’t share your password, and don’t leave your laptop unattended.

Businesses and governments: You need to invest time and money into your cybersecurity. Hire specialists that can help you pinpoint where your weaknesses are and then plug the gaps. As well as a robust system for passwords and staff, there are technical things to investigate, such as firewalls.

One of your most significant weaknesses is your staff- training them to identify cyber threats and manage them. McAfee estimates over 100 billion malicious scans each day and thousands of phishing and ransomware attacks. This is not IF, this is WHEN.

Regular system maintenance and keeping up to date with the latest threats is vital. Scammers and hackers move fast and will exploit all gaps in process, software, and hardware. While hiring professionals to manage this may seem expensive, they will find and security vulnerabilities.

The cost of not doing this should be losing everything.

Encrypting and backing up are an excellent means of defense. Backing up, off-site, securely, is not just a must in case of physical disaster where your business cannot access the location, but also a safety net in case systems are hacked. If you have a backup of everything, hackers refusing to obtain your order are less catastrophic.

Also, encrypting information, running things through VPNs, and multiple security layers make a hacker’s job much more difficult.

If cyber threats aren’t taken seriously, there could be some extremely unpleasant and unexpected consequences. All online systems are vulnerable, and keeping them safe should be a priority for businesses, individuals, and governments.

Finally, listen to what others say. Zoom suffered an embarrassing and challenging setback when a social media influencer hacker found several weaknesses in their software and then Tweeted about it.

This spawned a string of security incidents with an in-demand service at the global pandemic height when more companies were moving their operations online. Governments have also been warned in the past about possible security flaws, only for further breaches to be made.

Think about it now, before it is too late. If you’re unsure, ask Garmin, who was hacked in July 2020, and resulted in global outages, runners, and cyclists who can’t track their training and ongoing problems.

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Upgrades That Will Help Your Business Thrive

Once you’ve identified your goals and how to attain them, you can then grow your business in specific areas according to what you want to achieve.  The following 13 upgrades cover common areas of business that typically need developing:

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Upgrades That Will Help Your Business Thrive

Continuous improvement should be the primary goal of any business.  While it takes time and effort and some financial outlay, it’s crucial to continue growing and striving toward becoming the leader in your field.

This guide offers 13 ideas to help your business grow, increase your customer base, improve your productivity and boost your bottom line.

Start With A Solid Foundation

Before you commit to growth you should ensure your business is built on solid ground.  Here are some tips to help you begin:

Know your business – the use of tools such as benchmarking, market research and trend analysis will help you get a better picture of the factors affecting your business.

Take charge of your finances Make a commitment to understanding your daily, weekly, and monthly figures. Unless you have a dedicated accountant, you need to have a thorough understanding of your financial situation.

Prioritize your goals – identify those business goals which can be achieved relatively quickly and those which will require more time and financial investment. Make sure the goals you set are relevant and can be achieved in a realistic timeframe.

Develop a plan – once you’ve identified your goals, you will need to develop strategies to realize them and the best means of implementing those strategies.

Make your results measurable – work out how you are going to measure your results.  You may want to introduce devices such as a point system or desired percentage increase.

13 Ways To Upgrade Your Business

Once you’ve identified your goals and how to attain them, you can then grow your business in specific areas according to what you want to achieve.  The following 13 upgrades cover common areas of business that typically need developing:

Include reviews – today’s consumers place great value on the opinions of their peers when it comes to buying products. Upgrading your website to include customer reviews will help to increase sales and boost customer confidence. Be sure to include both good and bad reviews if you want to be taken seriously.

Upgrade your internet an upgrade to FTTP (fiber to the premises) now will pay big dividends for your business down the line and it doesn’t have to cost you anything.  Qualifying businesses connecting to high-speed NBN plans can enjoy a $0 upfront cost.

Computer Monitor and Other Remote Work Must-Haves

Introduce automation – there is a multitude of software and applications designed to reduce labor costs and increase productivity. Many are inexpensive and can free up small business owners, allowing them to focus more on growing their core business.

Increase your social media presence – rather than just a Facebook page and a presence on Instagram and Twitter, you should look at other forms of customer interaction such as articles, sponsorship, blogs, and webinars.

Start networking – as well as an online presence, you need to get out there more and attend industry-related events such as expos and seminars.  This is, not only to network with others in your field but also to forge new contacts with like-minded businesses, with cross-promotion in mind.

Create a rewards program – think of ways to reward your existing customers to maintain their loyalty and incentivize them to buy from you again.  These could include early access to specials and exclusive offers not available to the general public.

Create an email list – email addresses of existing customers are a valuable resource you should be taking full advantage of.  Send those on your mailing list regular reminders of what you have to offer, but make sure it’s valuable content rather than what could be perceived as spam.

Ask for feedback – another valuable resource is your customers’ opinions.  Ask them what they think of your products and then use this feedback to improve your product line and customer service.

Streamline your business – identify which products aren’t selling, which employees aren’t performing and any other areas that may be holding you back.  Make changes and be ruthless on behalf of your business.

Reduce overheads – look at ways to cut costs within your business such as transitioning to a remote workforce or outsourcing business processes such as payroll, HR, and bookkeeping.

Invest in your people – good staff morale translates into good customer service. Provide your employees additional training, advancement opportunities, and a fair wage to ensure a healthy company culture.

Improve your credentials – reduce your carbon footprint, introduce sustainable processes and practice corporate responsibility in order to retain and grow your customer base.

Increase cybersecurity upgrade your cybersecurity systems to make sure you are protected from the latest threats from hackers, malware, etc.  This is particularly important if you have a remote workforce.

Roughly half of all small businesses don’t make it past their fifth year of operation, so continuous improvement needs to be a priority from day one. Adopting just a few of the measures suggested here should help keep your business on trend, competitive, and above all, profitable.

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