Westpac has introduced its free Cyber Response Playbook to help combat increasing cyber attacks, as new research found that 49% of Australian small and medium-sized businesses have experienced a cyber breach in the last 12 months.
The study revealed that 17% of SME organisations that suffered a cyber attack had to shut operations until the issue was fixed, while 25% lost data and 8% had to pay a ransom to end the attack.
Phishing (30%) was the most common type of cyber attack, followed by malware attacks (21%), the study found.
“Our research shows that preparing for and mitigating cyber attacks is a key priority for business owners, with almost two-thirds planning to invest in cybersecurity measures in the next 12 months,” said Richard Johnson, Westpac’s group chief information security officer. “Almost 90% of small business owners in Australia admit they could do more to educate themselves about cyber attacks, which is why we are launching this playbook, to help them be better prepared to manage one if it occurs.”
Johnson noted that in the 2020-21 financial year, cyber attacks accounted for $33 billion in self-reported losses nationwide.
“Unfortunately, we are seeing a further rise in these attacks, as online businesses boom and more employees continue to work from home separated from the office systems built by employers to counter cyber attacks,” he said.
Despite increasing cyber attacks, the research showed that only 62% of SMEs will invest in cybersecurity measures in the next 12 months, while a mere 41% said they have a cyber attack response plan in place.
Westpac’s Cyber Response Playbook provides businesses with an outline of a five-step plan to manage a cyber attack, including tips on how to gather key contacts, detect and contain a threat, and resetting and restoring their business online.
“A cyber response plan is crucial for hitting the ground running if there is a cyber incident,” said Derek Bopping, first assistant director-general of cyber, engagement and strategy division at Australian Cyber Security Centre. “Too often, we see small and medium-sized businesses lose days and weeks to cyber attacks, simply because they are not prepared and don’t know how to handle an attack. As threats continue to rise we encourage every business to spend time planning for a potential attack.”
Westpac’s Cyber Response Playbook can be found here.