You would have been following the unprecedented data leak affecting more than 9 million people in Australia, as a result of a sophisticated cyber attack. People’s confidential information has been exposed, namely their names, dates of birth, phone numbers, email addresses, driver licences and passport numbers.
This raises alarm bells that it is critical for businesses to safeguard their confidential information.
Cyber attacks have become more prevalent in recent years with the advent of technology. In fact, Australians have lost over $300 million to scams in 2021 alone. For small businesses, this means that they have to be vigilant in the face of potential cyber attacks and have the right safeguards in place to protect themselves.
Here are four ways you can protect yourself and your business against potential cyber attacks:
1. Protect your account with multi-factor authentication
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a cyber security measure that requires the user to approve multiple factors to validate their identity before being granted access to a system.
Businesses and individuals are encouraged to adopt multiple factor authentication to detract cyber criminals from hacking into their database. Multi-factor authentication can take the form of:
- A password
- A fingerprint or other biometric
- A card
- An authentication app
According to research conducted by Microsoft, multi-factor authentication can prevent 99.9 percent of account compromise threats. This means that even if cyber criminals obtain your password, they will still need to know the other proofs of identity such as your email address or access to the authentication app that you’ve registered to your account, to gain access.
2. Apply for a credit ban to prevent criminals from accessing credit in your name
A credit ban will freeze your file for 21 days and will prevent credit reporting agencies (CRAs) from sharing your consumer credit file to any credit providers unless you provide written consent or are required by law to do so. While a ban prevents other people from accessing your file, you’ll still be able to order a copy of your credit report any time.
A ban on your credit file will also not affect your credit line and you will still have access to your credit cards and be able to make any repayments to existing loans. Any organisation that requests your credit report during a ban, will usually be told that there is a ban in place so they are aware of the potential fraud risk on your account.
You can apply for a credit ban through the following agencies:
- Equifax: Go to ‘Placing a ban’ with Equifax and fill in and submit the form. Once submitted, Equifax will send you an email confirming that the ban is active.
- illion: Go to ‘Placing a ban’ with illion and fill in and submit the form. Once submitted, illion will send you an email confirming that the ban is active.
- Experian: Request a ban on the Experian website.
- A ban can be extended beyond 21 days, provided that you give evidence that you are at risk of becoming a victim of fraud. Check out www.cyber.gov.au to find out more.