How to protect yourself from cyber attacks and hackers

A string of cyberattacks on high-profile companies, including Optus, Energy Australia and Medibank, has many people on edge but it’s far from something new for many businesses.

Recent data from Westpac and Lonergan Research reveals 49 per cent of Australian small and medium-sized businesses experienced a cyberattack in the 12 months to August 2022.

WATCH IN THE VIDEO ABOVE: Top tips for staying safe from cyber hackers.

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Business owner Amanda Burke was locked out of her business accounts on Facebook and Instagram earlier this year.

She realised something was wrong when she received emails saying someone was attempting to change her password.

When she tried requesting help, it was already too late.

Amanda Burke’s business social media accounts were hacked. Credit: Sunrise

She hopes sharing her story will prevent others from falling into the same trap.

“I’ve gone from a couple thousand followers (and) great engagement to absoutely zero,” Burke told Sunrise.

“Having to start again, plus being a sole trader, (it’s) super stressful.”

Amanda had to start new accounts, losing the followers she’d gained. Credit: Sunrise

Burke had to create new accounts and rebuild her business’ online presence but there’s still a long road ahead.

“Coming up into the a busier season, I do rely on people finding me through that medium,” she said.

Online safety tips

Cyber expert Phil Parisis shared his top tips for keeping your online information safe.

Parisis said security starts with your password, and he recommends using multi-factor authentication which can usually be turned on in the security settings of an app or website.

His next big tip is to limit the number of times you log into public Wi-Fi – it’s one of the riskiest ways to get hacked.

Cyber expert Phil Parisis shared his top tips for keeping your online information safe. Credit: Sunrise

And if you’re a small business owner who relies on social media, it’s worth dividing your content between two different accounts.

“But what you do is you obviously use different email accounts and passwords for both of those, so they don’t get hacked at the same time,” Parisis said.

To take your security even further, it could be worth calling in an expert who will be able to sort out the technical side of things, such as cyber protection insurance plus updating your business’ privacy policies.

– with Shaun White

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