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2019 = Scam Watch

Avatar On: February, 22nd 2019 | Under: Cloud, Computer Networking, Technology & Tools


Welcome to 2019 = Scam Watch.  Scams continue to grow rapidly, and they continue to evolve to elaborate making it more and more difficult for people to recognize and avoid. The Australian government through Scamwatch.gov.au continues to report that Scams are costing the broader community significant amounts of money. Not only consumers but business as well with Small to Medium businesses being a very specific target.

Not all scams are related to the internet but the radar watch on scams reports that YTD October 2018, there was 15,195 reported incidents of which 9% involved a financial loss and $4.966 million had been lost. The key methods for delivering a scam are phone, email, text messaging, the internet and mobile applications.

As the variety of scams continues to grow, and the best form of defense is education and ensuring your IT systems are up to date with virus protection, that your data is backed up and that you are effectively managing access to your systems and email.

The criminals have continued to become more sophisticated with their ability to make an email to appear it is from a legitimate company. This hack involves a company receiving an email re the payee’s bank details have changed and that their invoices for services/goods should be paid to this new account.

In January there is an expectation that more scams involving online shopping, donations to fake charities and investment scams will have been reported over the Xmas period.

Understanding the Scams

Hacking is when the scammer gains access to your personal/business information by using technology to break into your computer, mobile device or network.

Some examples are to trick the user into installing some malware (software application) onto your computer and then that software works in the background to collect personal information such as banking records, passwords, credit card numbers etc.

Once they have this information, they use it to commit fraudulent activities such as identity theft or credit card theft or even directly transfer money to their accounts from your account.

Identity theft is where a person uses someone else’s identity to steal money or gain other benefits.  A common method is Phishing, which is where you are contacted either by Phone, email, text, social media and then without suspecting anything you provide personal details.

This method equally applies to businesses but is referred to as Whaling or spear phishing. The scammer targets the business to gain confidential information for fraudulent purposes. Usually done by email that is sent to either a group of employees or a specific senior executive. The design of the email looks like it has been sent from a trustworthy source, with a subject that captures the eye as it is a critical business issue that the requires the recipient to act by going to a fake website and prompting them to enter key confidential information.

 What are some of the scams?

The following list is not exhaustive, but they give you an idea of where you might encounter a scam.

Holiday accommodation scam: this is where scammers are asking for a payment for something that does not exist. Means fake online websites, fake vouchers unusual practices like paying everything in total (especially bigger trips) with no deposit.

Flight booking scams: same approach using online techniques through fake websites you pay to turn up at the airport and you do not have an authentic flight ticket

Online shopping scams: the scammer tricks through fake classified ads, auction listings, and bogus websites. You purchase but never receive the goods and the website is often only there for a very short period.

Celebrity endorsement scams: these types of scams involve a loss of between $100 and $500. This scam involves signing up for a free trial and providing credit card details from fake websites where they use celebrities to endorse the product without the celebrity’s knowledge.

False Billing: They request you or your business to pay fake invoices for the directory listing, advertising, domain name renewals, or office supplies that you did not order. This type of scam has grown by 33% in 2018. It is a sophisticated scam created through email compromise (BEC, Business Email Compromise). Losses of up to $2.8 million have been reported in 2018.

What are the key things you should do to protect yourself or business?

The following items are not listed in any order, but you should at least implement these items to mitigate the risk.

  1. DO an annual Security IT assessment and act on the recommendations.
  2. Do ensure your Antivirus software is up to date and is maintained weekly. Ensure you have a weekly maintenance schedule where this is checked and updated
  3. Do have a person responsible for maintaining and regulating your user profiles for your computers and email services.
  4. Have IT security as a regular point of discussion at your team meetings Share stories and examples so your team becomes more educated at identifying possible threats.
  5. Ensure you have a backup and that it is checked regularly that it worked at the last scheduled backup time.
  6. Install a password manager for all staff

How can Computer Troubleshooters help you?

As a small business, you probably won’t have the time or the resource to undertake all the above, which is why are joining forces with Crest Australia to conduct IT security assessments that have been backed by the Australian Government with rebates on the fees. Learn more on this Federal government program.

Our Protection Plan service is directly aimed at small to medium businesses which is aimed at allowing you to focus on your business while we focus on your IT security giving you the confidence and peace of mind on this business issue.

Call 1300 28 28 78 for your nearest local Computer Troubleshooter

BackUp or Business Continuity

Avatar On: August, 27th 2017 | Under: Cloud, Data Recovery, Managed Services


The facts according to the Boston Computing Network’s Data Loss Statistics, are that 60% of companies that lose their data, will shut down within 6 months of the disaster. This is something that every business wants to avoid.

The following article provides a high-level understanding of how, as a business owner the question for you is one of Business Continuity of which Backup is a key component.

What is Business Continuity?

Business continuity involves a mindset of being proactive and putting plans, processes and systems in place, so that when the unexpected occurs you can return to normal operations with minimal delay thereby reducing the level of disruption and cost to your business.

The aim is to ensure that all essential functions can be up and running or be returned to operational status quickly during various unexpected events such as a natural disaster (Flood, Fire), cyberattacks, theft, or major IT system failure.

What is involved?

The key aspect is to develop a plan that then is well communicated and understood by your staff so they know what to do when the disaster occurs. Like all plans, if it is not communicated and shared then it’s not worth the paper that it is written on.

The process of writing the plan involves identifying the key risks, identifying the ways you can prevent those risks occurring for instance:

  • risk is data loss
  • prevention is designing and implementing a multilevel backup solution.

Then the last element of the plan is documenting the steps in responding and recovery if an incident occurs that does bring down your systems.

Businesses today are more reliant than ever on IT, one of the biggest threats these days being a cybersecurity breach. A fair portion of the plan will need to focus on recovery from an IT disaster.

The plan will need to be reviewed regularly as a business grows and circumstances change and the recovery processes should be thoroughly tested to ensure it will work.

What are your backup options?

There are many options available to businesses these days for backup. With today’s modern technologies and cloud storage services, a hybrid combination of traditional on-site backup plus off-site backup to the cloud, has become the popular choice amongst businesses wanting to ensure high levels of continuity.

The key questions in making a choice is determining the level of risk and the importance of the system and the data that is being backed up. Answering these questions will impact on the choice that you make. You can see I have not mentioned cost or price. One might ask Why? Well because you need to remember this is about having a solution that will minimise the cost of failure which will far outweigh the cost of the solution you choose.

If you are not certain about this statement ask somebody who has experienced the loss of data due to a failed system backup.

What are the traditional onsite backup options?

Onsite with machines all backing up either to tape or disc and then being stored onsite. Usually scheduled to occur daily, every couple of days, or weekly. The greatest weakness is that if something happens to the premises the backups can become corrupted and lost and an external service provider such as Kroll Ontrack may need to be used to try and recover the data.

To overcome the above weakness some business’s will transport the discs/ tapes to an offsite location where they are stored.

What is happening today?

The cost of online storage has reduced with the introduction of data centre services and the continued adoption of cloud storage services. Today most businesses will have a recovery strategy based around using cloud storage, with onsite backup devices that then replicate to a data centre.

The drivers behind this are many but one can put it down to speed of recovery, ability to quickly monitor and ensure backup has occurred, hence no unpleasant surprises if a data loss breach or cyberattack occurs.

 What next?      

The first step is to make sure you have a plan and an understanding of your options. This is where you should have a chat with your local computer troubleshooter to understand how they can help you to minimise the disruption to your business from a data loss/breach. Visit www.computertroubleshooters.com.au to locate your nearest provider.