Identifying and protecting your business from different types of cyber-risks

Cyber-attacks, unfortunately it is a term that is all too common these days, affecting countless businesses of all sizes on a daily basis. As technology advances and becomes more sophisticated, so do the types of crimes and threats crafted by cyber criminals.

One way to stay alert and aware of the ever-evolving world of cybercrimes is for you and your staff to become familiar with the various kinds of cyber threats that exist and what to do if you are faced with one.

Our guide shares some of the common kinds of cyber risks small businesses may encounter and some tips on how to protect your business from becoming a cyber-attack victim.

What are some of the common types of cyber risks small business may face?

While you may have heard of many of these terms being thrown around, like phishing emails (no, not the hook line and sinker kind) ransomware and other types of viruses, it’s important to understand what the characteristics are of the risks, so you know what to look out for.

1. Ransomware

Within Australia, the impact of a ransomware attack upon a business can be massive. These attacks can target any type of business from one-man bands to government agencies which is why it pays to be vigilant and aware of what exactly a ransomware attack entails.

A ransomware attack occurs when cyber criminals use malware to encrypt files. The criminals will then request a demand for a sum of funds to decrypt the files. It has often been suggested that business owners do not pay the ransom, as there is no certainty that they will decrypt the files once they receive the payment.

2. Phishing

A phishing scam is one of the common types of cyber risks many business owners may encounter over time. It can come in different forms like an email, phone call or SMS impersonating anything from a trusted organisation like a financial institution, utilities provider or government agency.

The aim of a phishing attack is to deceive the receiver into divulging personal information and details like bank account, credit card details and other sensitive information like passwords.

During 2021, The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) received 71,299 reports of phishing attacks with over $4.3m lost to scams. [i]

3. Malware

Malware refers to the cyber threat where you may receive a link to a news article, or other kinds of click-bait kind of content. These links can be sent via email, as pop-ups on websites, as a text message and more recently via social media messaging platforms too.

Once the link is clicked on, it can lead to a fake website that looks and performs very similarly to a real website. The cyber criminals will use things like well-known logos and branding to help create the fake site, where you will be often asked to download certain software or a file to proceed with the site.

Malware can come in a variety of forms like viruses and trojans, all designed to get into your systems, access sensitive information, potentially crippling your IT infrastructure.

What can you do to help protect your business from cyber threats and risks?

Taking the time to know what to look for and understanding the different kinds of cyber risks is an active step you can take when it comes to protecting your business from cyber-attacks. Here are a few more measures you can take to help safeguard your small business from the nasties of the cyber world.

  • Train your staff to be aware of the different types of cyber risks. Make sure you have a plan in place if they do receive a link/text/email/ phone call that may potentially be a scam. Being proactive and identifying a scam before it become a threat is an important action that all your staff should be aware of
  • For some businesses you may be required to have multiple email addresses or various people having access to things like social media accounts. It’s important to limit the access to these to just a handful of people to lower the risk of unwanted access.
  • Do regular checks on IT systems to ensure software and anti-virus programs are all up to date
  • Invest in Cyber Liability insurance*

Cyber Liability insurance provides your business with an extra layer of protection from unwanted cyber threats and attacks. It covers losses from claims arising from data breaches, business interruption and remediation costs following an actual or threatened data breach.

To find out more about Cyber Liability insurance for your business or any other business insurance enquires contact BizCover today. We provide insurance solutions for over 6,000 different types of Australian small business occupations. Let us do the shopping around for you, providing multiple quotes in the click of a mouse, without the dramas and messy paperwork forms.

* This information is general only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It should not be relied upon as advice. As with any insurance, cover will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording.
[i] Phishing, Scamwatch, ACCC,

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