Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his government are so concerned about the rise in the volume of Cyber-attacks that a specific press conference was held on Friday June 20th declaring Australia under attack.
This is warning Australian businesses to be proactive in defending themselves against a potential attack.
The Australian Cyber Security Centre (www.cyber.gov.au) (ACSC) has identified that the threat actor is utilising various spearphishing techniques. These have taken the form of:
links to credential harvesting websites
emails with links to malicious files, or with the malicious file directly attached
links prompting users to grant Office 365 OAuth tokens to the actor
use of email tracking services to identify the email opening and lure click-through events.
Given the uptake of Office 365 by Australian businesses due to the majority of the workforce currently working from home, it is more important than ever to be talking with your local Computer Troubleshooter. This will ensure you are doing everything within your power to minimise the risk of an attack and disruption to your business.
The best form of defence against cyber-attack is to use a layered approach which means more than just having endpoint protection on your devices. Even with just Endpoint protection, too many employees and businesses do not have the latest viruses’ definitions or the latest software patches issued by the vendor.
The Computer Troubleshooters protection/managed service plans are designed to enable a business to minimise the risk and to have the confidence that all the basic mitigation strategies are deployed in your business.
No single mitigation strategy can prevent cyber-attack incidents. The Australian Cyber Security Centre located within the Australian Signals Directorate has developed eight mitigation strategies that are considered as the baseline -essential for all organisations to protect themselves against cyber incidents. Collectively this is known as the Essential Eight framework.
Given the current threat environment the following detection and mitigation strategies are highly recommended by the ACSC.
Prompt patching of internet-facing software, operating systems, and devices
This means all businesses should ensure that security patches or mitigations are applied to internet facing infrastructure immediately. If you are not sure what this means then talk to your local Computer Troubleshooter by calling 1300 28 28 78.
This includes ensuring all software and operating systems are using the latest versions. A CT Business protection/managed services plan includes the automatic patching of all your systems.
Use of multi-factor authentication across all remote access services
Are you using web and cloud-based email applications (Office 365, Xero accounting), collaboration platforms (Teams) a virtual private network connection or Remote desktop services? Then you should have Multi-factor authentication implemented. This gives you a much higher degree of security against fraudulent access to your systems.
What other of the essential eight strategies need to be implemented?
Ensure that all executable files are restricted from being able to run. This includes ensuring this restriction applies to all servers and any workstation devices.
Configure Microsoft 365 macro settings
Ensuring that only Microsoft office macros are allowed to deploy after the user is prompted for approval, that no security settings can be modified by a user, and that macros in documents sourced from the internet are blocked.
User application hardening
Ensuring that web browsers are set up to block or disable support for content that uses Flash. Ensuring that web browsers are configured to block java from the internet and also to block web advertisements.
Restrict administrative privileges
Ensuring that access to systems, applications and data repositories are validated when first requested by a privileged user. Broader Policy security controls are used to prevent privileged users from reading emails, browsing the web, and obtaining files via online services. This will include continued revalidation of users’ access at regular intervals as set by a system policy.
Ensure that information, software, and configuration settings are backed up monthly at a minimum .. Make sure that that all backups are stored for a nominated period of time between a month and three months, using multiple backups – both physical and cloud. Backups to be preserved in a non-rewritable and non-erasable manner, and restoration tested annually at the very least (though preferably on a more frequent basis). Tests to be conducted both in part and full.
Remove the stress! Be confident you have it covered.
No matter what the size of your business is, no business is safe from cyber-attack unless you are proactively managing your risk in an ongoing manner. This is not something that you can ignore – it is a moving beast and your business needs to manage the risk. If you don’t have a dedicated IT department or an ongoing support department then you need to find out more about how your local Computer Troubleshooter can help. A Computer Troubleshooter will assess your risk and develop proactive managed plans of protection with you. Sleep comfortably at night knowing your business is in safe hands. Call 1300 28 28 78 or visit our website at www.computertroublehsooters.com.au
Data is more valuable than oil, as data is the lifeblood of any business. Data by itself like oil, needs to be refined before it is transformed into a valuable commodity.
Data is collected everyday as part of normal business activities, assisting businesses to make important business decisions such as marketing and forecasting. Today’s greatest challenges though are hackers – cyber criminals who are focused on and love to get their hands on a business’s sensitive and valuable business data, a prime target being customer information.
In 2018, the Australian Government introduced new laws to protect consumers against data breaches. Essentially, any company with a turnover exceeding $3 million must alert its customers of a data breach as quickly as possible. Failing to report the breach, an organisation can be fined up to $1.8 million.
According to the Office of the Information Commissioner data breaches in Australia are still rising meaning many companies remain unprepared. The July-December 2019 Notifiable data breaches report reported that Malicious or criminal attacks (including Cyber incidents) account for 64% of all notifications, human error remains the second biggest cause at 32% of all reported breaches.
So, what can you do to recover in the event of a data breach? More importantly, what can you do to prevent falling victim to hackers?
Preventing and Recovering from Data Breaches
If you suspect somebody has accessed your data without authorisation, you should comply with government guidelines and notify the authorities immediately. Report a data breach here.
The last thing you need is a financial penalty that could put your business under. That’s why it’s best to maximise your IT security so that hackers can’t penetrate your system. Here are some tips:
If you lose your data, you’ll need to get it back – quickly. That’s why you should always securely back up your data to the cloud, where you can recover it within seconds.
Create a cybersecurity framework
Recent surveys suggest that the majority of Australian business owners plan to implement a cybersecurity framework within the next 12 months. But with data breaches on the rise, you might want to consider moving the task towards the top of your to-do list. There are plenty of ways in which you can secure your network and ensure only people with authorisation can access sensitive data. If you’re unsure of what’s available, give us a call. We’ll detail the types of systems trusted by global corporations and even governments.
Make sure remote workers follow protocols
It’s highly likely that, increasingly, you’ll have employees working from home, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing for plenty of reasons. Nevertheless, remote working does increase the risk of a data breach, so make sure you have rules in place for your at-home employees. You need to tell people to stick to using your corporate network for work tasks and to avoid transmitting work files using personal email addresses.
Let Our Experts Protect Your Data
The national network of Computer Troubleshooters Franchise locations continues to be at the forefront of supporting small to medium businesses with a range of services aimed at prevention of a data breach. To discuss your options, contact your nearest local expert to discuss your concerns either visit our website or call 1300 28 28 78
Your local Computer Troubleshooters expert understands that both hacking and the recent changes to data breach laws can wreak havoc on your business, which is why we only install the most advanced cybersecurity solutions on the market and use leading suppliers products.
If you have any questions about data breach laws, the effect they can have on your business or the innovative solutions available to prevent hacking, don’t hesitate to talk with us on 1300 28 28 78.
Do you find that you frequently run into problems with your IT equipment that prevent your employees from getting on with work? Are your laptops and desktops running so slowly that people need to spend hours completing tasks that should take minutes?
It’s easy to neglect those software update requests when you’re juggling a multitude of tasks. However, those updates are often purposed to improve the efficiency of your systems. If you don’t have time to handle updates, you can outsource the task to us, and we’ll handle it remotely.
Install Patch Fixes and Security Enhancements Remotely
Updating your software is just as important as upgrading your IT security, especially with the rise in data breaches in Australia. If hackers can penetrate your system, you can feel confident that more than just workplace productivity will be affected. Again, engage our IT support services, and security updates will be handled automatically.
Store Your Data in the Cloud
Why clog up your hard drives and servers with data that could be stored in the cloud? By securely storing data in the cloud, you can access it from wherever you like while ensuring it remains out of the hands of hackers. Moreover, should you lose any data, you can recover it in seconds, minimising disruption to your business.
Get Software Repairs Quickly
There’s nothing more frustrating than software glitches preventing you from getting on with your job, especially if you have no idea how to fix them. Fortunately, our team of IT specialists can get to the root of any problem.
Have Constant Access to the Most Advanced Equipment
The equipment you use has a dramatic impact on how efficiently your computers can run. When was the last time you replaced your onsite servers? Nowadays, you don’t need to purchase, replace or maintain servers because you can team up with a cloud solutions provider like us instead.
Find out Whether You Could Improve Your Network Speed
Do you understand the ins and outs of all the different networks you can set up in your work environment? Choose the wrong network, and your productivity might suffer as a result. Call us, and we can examine your network and suggest improvements that could have a dramatic impact on business efficiency.
Integrate Business Systems to Improve Communication
If you’re currently operating your business using a variety of standalone IT systems, you might be wasting a lot of time transferring data back and forth as well as facilitating communication between different departments. At Computer Troubleshooters, we can integrate your systems to make the flow of data and communication seamless.
Ensure Support Is Always Available When You Need It
If you ever have any questions regarding how to get the most from your system, or if you run into a problem you don’t know how to resolve, you can feel confident that an expert is waiting to take your call.
At Computer Troubleshooters, we aim to forge lasting relationships with our clients. Outsource your IT requirements to us, and you can feel confident that your IT network will maximise workplace productivity. Call your local Computer Troubleshooters technician 1300 28 28 78 for more information.
COVID-19 has changed the way we work now and into the future, remote working is here to stay. What does this mean for businesses from a technology viewpoint?
question for a business is how to use technology effectively to ensure that
their business has a productive workforce with minimal disruption from
Strategically it means a business needs to focus on deploying the right technologies to support the worker and the functions they undertake.
the 3 key elements to ensuring your workforce can continue working
remotely? The starting issue is ensuring Connectivity. Without connectivity you cannot
work remotely. The second element Communication is about ensuring
everybody stays in contact and has capacity to engage with each other and
clients. The final element of Collaboration is the ability to work
together on the same documents, having access to files etc. in a secure
collaboration across the team requires having the right software platform.
options such as Microsoft Office 365 or Googles G Suite are cloud solutions
at the core of enabling businesses to communicate, access documents,
collaborate with co- workers by sharing files, storing files, combined with an
technologies have a high adoption but there are many businesses yet to
understand the benefits of adopting these cloud-based programs. A
workforce working remotely from home is distributed far and wide, one benefit
of Office 365 is the comfort that everybody will be using the same version of
A secondary advantage is that the fee is monthly, charged by number of users which means you only pay for what you are using. This allows businesses to scale up and down as required. This provides businesses greater flexibility and control over cash flow. You are not paying for something that is not being used.
choices are available for conducting virtual meetings each has its own specific
benefits. The key goal is to select and deploy the platform and then provide
people with the guidance on how to run effective virtual meetings.
technology also enables your team members to conduct informal meetings more of
a social interaction. Alternatively, they can use their normal social media
tools such as What’s app, Facebook Messenger etc. to create a sense of social
The communication solution needs to cover voice and email solutions. Having a virtual PABX solution hosted in the Cloud can ensure that phone calls can be directed to the right people inside the business. The email solution is part of Office 365 which includes capacity to share and store files using OneDrive and SharePoint.
putting the technology in place does not necessarily guarantee success there is
a need to build culture and create understanding between team members. A suggestion
is to create some tasks/projects that need completing by a team using the above
tools within a common framework.
– Remote Connections, Security, Support
element connectivity means having an internet connection for the worker to
access the software and tools, so they can perform their work. It is as basic
as that. However, the internet connection needs to be stable and quick enough
for workers to complete tasks.
This means considerations such as bandwidth and upload/download speeds. It may mean a business upgrading/switching the internet plans of their workers to ensure they can operate effectively. Wi-Fi is so predominant today there may be a need to check the configuration, make changes such as adding Wi-Fi boosters to ensure stable and reliable performance across a home environment.
With connectivity comes some clear concerns for a business owner, such as how secure is it in terms of being hacked, backing up data and email security. These questions raise the question to the level of support required by a remote worker?
workers it is very important that a business ensures they have proactive management
of their equipment and networks. What does this mean? Simply put don’t run the
risk of anything breaking by ensuring you have your IT person/provider constantly
monitoring and maintaining each workers environment.
ensuring all devices are regularly updated with the latest versions of the
software (patch management) ensuring that all security elements are operating,
and functional, ensuing data is backed up correctly in accordance with your
policies. That passwords are managed and updated regularly, that user access is
managed correctly as people come and go from the business and the list goes on.
This is called Managed Services.
In addition to Managed Services It is essential that employees can call someone if something unexpected happens (like a disc failure, network connection failure, etc.) The first step for your provider in the current environment will be to complete the diagnosis remotely using a tool such as TeamViewer or LogMeIn.
give your IT support person secure, full control and access to
your employee’s equipment. Its efficient and fast and means minimal disruption.
If the problem cannot be fixed remotely then an onsite visit will take place.
Note the IT provider must adhere to all COVID-19 social distancing and sanitisation
Finally, consider the option of a VPN (Virtual Private Network) which ensures your communication is encrypted and protected from prying eyes.
article is not exhaustive, but it explains why it is essential to work with an
experienced IT group such as Computer Troubleshooters.
national network of location’s, across Australia no matter where your team is
located, we can support them to ensure they maintain their productivity while
working from home.
As the nbn is rolled out many people are asking do I need to do anything? Do I need to switch to the nbn? Will I need to update my phone system etc. The fact is that as the rollout reaches your area every business needs to be ready to switch to the nbn.
Because it has been mandated that the following services will be terminated: Home/Landline services from Telstra and other providers, internet services that are ADSL, ADSL2, ADSL2+ and cable services from Bigpond and Optus.
How do you know and how long do you have to migrate?
From the moment your area is declared as nbn ready then you have 18 months to make the switch. You can check if your location is nbn ready here.
When your location is ready it is a great opportunity to assess new technology options such as VoIP. (Voice over the Internet Protocol). Some people are concerned with using internet-based phone systems due to the low sound quality and unreliability. Thanks to the NBN, that’s all changing.
In Australia, the internet is largely powered by a system of copper cables, which can result in slow downloading and uploading speeds, thus creating problems when making phone calls. Now, Australia is unleashing its NBN network, which will see the copper cables replaced with fibre-optic alternatives.
Fibre-optic cables can carry signals much faster than copper wires. As a result, internet-based phone systems will become more reliable, which is why now is a good time to consider switching to a VoIP phone solution. Essentially, thanks to VoIP, you can have clear conversations in real-time with anybody in the world, provided you both have an internet connection.
The Benefits of VoIP for Small to Medium-Sized Businesses?
From reducing your expenses to expanding your reach, here are the benefits of VoIP for small to medium-sized businesses in Australia.
Both the installation and running costs of a VoIP system tend to be lower than a traditional phone system. Because your VoIP is powered by your internet, you don’t need to install phone lines, meaning you’ll only have one bill for your internet usage and phone calls.
Distance is no obstacle when it comes to making phone calls with a VoIP system. If you have an internet connection, you can communicate in near real-time. You can use additional communication services like video conferencing.
As you grow you can scale your business with extra capacity as required. How? With VoIP, you simply need to extend your bandwidth. There’s no limit to the number of VoIP phone handsets you can use.
With a traditional phone system, you often pay an additional fee for features such as call forwarding, voicemail, call waiting, and caller ID. VoIP systems are flexible and cost effective when deploying extra services.
Learn More about Our VoIP Services
If you’re a small to medium-sized business that wants to cut costs, improve communications and be prepared to have a phone system that can easily be adapted to suit your unique requirements, you should learn more about VoIP for NBN. Call our experts today 1300 28 28 78 and we’ll gladly provide more information.
How to take the pain away by using Computer Troubleshooters?
Our network of offices has invested in becoming accredited nbn advisers. The benefits of using a nbn accredited adviser are:
Using a nbn business adviser will allow you to focus on your business with an adviser working through the challenges of your migration. They take the headaches on, as you remain productive in your business.
Minimise risk of disruption
Migration requires time and is complex, there are many pitfalls that can lead to delays and disruption to your ability to trade effectively. The adviser is across the technology and therefore can predict the issues and proactively avoid them ensuring your transition is completed in the quickest possible time.
Choices: choosing the right solution
The role of the adviser is to understand your business needs today and into the future. Those business needs should dictate the choice of the solution. The adviser can explain, simplify and help you understand how the solution meets your needs best. They provide the peace of mind that you are selecting the right solution.
Maximising the benefit of the nbn
The nbn will initially involve a change but it brings many more opportunities to digitise your business and transform it increasing your productivity and profits. Your local Computer Troubleshooters nbn adviser can help you identify and map the areas for digitalisation. Plan to benefit and transform.
The starting point is to call your local office on 1300 28 28 78 and follow the prompts to be transferred to your nearest Computer Troubleshooters office. Be proactive and act now and while at ask for a Security IT assessment for your business.
Many Australian small businesses have a false sense of security
about their business not being hacked. Despite this confidence, the
statistics don’t lie and Australian small to medium businesses need to
be prepared and able to defend themselves effectively against a hack.
Often, small companies simply assume that they’ll never be targeted
by hackers. However, as many as one in three adult Australians fall
victim to cybercrime, and hacking is on the rise in just about every
ASBFEO has reported that 43% of all cybercrimes are committed
against small business and the average cost of a cyber-attack to a
business in Australia is around $276,000 per attack.
Unfortunately, IT security is often seen as a fix rather than an
ongoing process, and the cyber hacking security environment is ever
changing. This means IT Security needs to be a constant discussion point for the owners of small to medium businesses.
With resources being a challenge for any business, it is
recommendation that a business should look to use an IT expert for
advice, direction and execution of their security defence plan. The
statistics tell you with cybercrime on the rise, there’s never been a
more crucial time than now to protect your IT infrastructure.
As the world becomes more and more dependent on complex IT solutions
and infrastructure, the threat of cybercrime will continue to rise. No
matter how advanced the latest IT solutions are, hackers will develop
new and sophisticated ways to penetrate them. So, what can you do to
avoid being hacked? And what can you do if your company server is
How to Bolster Your Cyber Security
Here are some of the most effective ways to prevent your company from being hacked:
Backup your data
Plenty of hackers would love to gain access to your business data,
such as customer contact details, purchase order histories, forecasts
and other sensitive information. You need to back up your data so that
if it is lost or stolen, you can recover it in its entirety.
Ensure that your staff are required to change passwords regularly
and enforce this by managing the process. Don’t store your passwords
but use a password manager application. Ensure that all passwords are
strong by using uppercase, lowercase numbers, special characters and
Two Factor Authentication
Two factor authentication requires users to not only enter a
password but also confirm the password through another item like a code
that is either delivered to a phone or to a nominated email address.
All major applications are now enforcing two factor authentication and
so you should too.
Create a Cybersecurity Culture
It is a fact that a lot of security breaches occur via email by
staff either opening an attachment or clicking on a link that contains
a piece of malicious malware. Staff often use social media and
accidently post information that allows the cyber criminals to activate
or launch an attack on your business. The only way to avoid this
internal threat (by you or your staff), is to ensure they are educated
correctly on what to look for and what to do. This is about education
and developing a cyber security culture within your business.
Utilise remote servers
Why risk keeping all your IT systems and data in one place when you
can store everything on secure, remote servers (otherwise known as
cloud computing)? Most IT service providers utilise a network of remote
servers so that if one fails, another can simply take over.
Mobile Staff using public Wi-Fi
No matter where you or your staff are, they will be using their
various devices to continue working. This means they are accessing
valuable information via a public network that is vulnerable. People
can see the data and access it in transit. Think about the coffee shop,
or the usage of a hotels free Wi-Fi service. Such public networks are
very vulnerable, and you cannot be sure about how secure the connection
is. Ensure your staff are using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when
accessing or working on company related information. A VPN will encrypt
traffic so the WI-FI network cannot see what is being transmitted over
the network. As an alternative your staff can also setup a hotspot for
their mobile data.
Develop a business continuity and disaster recovery plan
It’s essential to create a strategy to deal with disasters, both
before and after they occur. You should take as many preventative
measures as possible to avoid a cyber-attack, but you also need to be
prepared for any situation.
Outsource IT security
The most straightforward way to guarantee the safety of your IT
systems is to outsource maintenance and security to a dedicated and
highly experienced service provider. That way, you’ll know who to call
when you have been hacked.
What to do if my business gets hacked?
If you’re unlucky enough to fall victim to cybercrime, you’ll need
to report the breach and contact your insurance provider. However, you
also need the contact details for an IT service provider who can
quickly get your business back up and running to minimise your losses.
At Computer Troubleshooters,
we specialise in all matters related to IT, whether you want to install
an internet-based phone network, a cloud-based computing system or a
sophisticated security solution.
We can prevent hackers from being able to access your
infrastructure, give you access to the latest equipment so that you can
compete with industry giants, and help you get back up and running in
the event that anybody tries to steal your data.
Call us today, and we’ll gladly explain how we can fortify your IT infrastructure. Call 1300 28 28 78 and enter your postcode to be transferred to your nearest local Computer Troubleshooter Business Solutions expert or visit www.computertroubleshooters.com.au
Reference points: ASBFEO Australian Small Business Family Enterprise Ombudsmen Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet: The Cyber Security Review report