MFAA offers cybersecurity resources to members

Optus data breach a 'wake-up call' for businesses

MFAA offers cybersecurity resources to members


By Jayden Fennell

Following the widely publicised breach of Optus customers’ data, the MFAA has made available a suite of resources to its members to highlight awareness of cybersecurity measures.

On Wednesday, the MFAA engaged former mortgage broker and cybersecurity adviser Paul Hankin (pictured above left), from Kaesim Cybersecurity, to explain to MFAA members how to protect themselves, their businesses and their clients, along with what lessons have been learnt from the Optus data breach.

The webinar explored the top tips proven to reduce 85% of cyberattacks, how to avoid ransomware shutting down your business, email fraud and phishing attacks, working from home safely and securely by protecting your staff and business from home-based risks, as well as using cyber insurance.

“Things have changed recently with cyberattacks on small to medium sized businesses because they are considered ‘low hanging fruit’,” Hankin said. “Cybercrime is now considered organised crime. It is fully industrialised, with revenue globally three times greater than the largest retailer (Walmart) in the largest economy in world (US).”

Hankin said ransomware attacks were increasing, with Australia ranking first globally of reported targets.

“If a small to medium sized business suffers a ransomware attack, they could potentially pay up to $100,000 in ransom,” he said.

“Businesses can be closed and suffer financially if impacted. The average small business only spends $300 per year annually on cybersecurity, compared to NAB who spends $70 million annually. Hackers don’t usually focus on businesses such as hair salons of gyms, they focus on the financial services industries.”

Hankin said only 10% of cyberattacks were reported, so the issue was 10 times larger than what we are seeing.

“In 2021, some big Australian companies were hacked including Toll, Canon, Services NSW and Spotlight,” he said. “There have been 45 major data breaches in 2022 alone. From Bunnings in January to Uber, TikTok and Freemantle Football Club in recent weeks.”

MFAA CEO Anja Pannek (pictured above right) said the Optus data breach had been a wake-up call for companies and industries across the country and was a timely reminder of the criticality of cybersecurity and fraud awareness.

“Mortgage and finance brokers provide critical credit assistance to a large percentage of Australian consumers and business owners. Protecting customer data is an essential obligation for all brokers as custodians of personal information when providing credit assistance,” Pannek said.

“Being such a significant part of the Australian financial services landscape, it’s so important brokers all consider and take measures to maintain the confidence of customers and ensure their data is protected. Our role as the peak industry body is to support our membership to understand and manage these risks, including equipping them with the tools and resources to do so.”

Pannek said the MFAA also understood its members were facing questions from their customers around data and privacy, so the peak body developed a comprehensive set of FAQs to help them navigate conversations with their customers.

“The MFAA has also created the MFAA Foundation Course in Fraud Prevention to provide our members with deeper and richer support around cybersecurity, fraud and scams, which is free to all members until the end of January 2023,” she said.

“The aim of these resources is to give our members a deeper and richer understanding of the heightened environment in which we operate, also some clear and concise tools to help our members navigate this environment.

“Working with the whole of industry including fraud experts, aggregators, lenders and legal, we have developed a comprehensive education module on fraud which we expect to be market leading.”

The recording of the webinar and the Foundation Course in Fraud Prevention is available to MFAA members on the MFAA Learning Hub.

Related Stories

Keep up with the latest news and events

Join our mailing list, it’s free!