Cybercrime, also called computer crime, involves using computers and the internet to break the law.

Cybercrime is a growing threat in Australia. Criminals use it to steal information, money and disrupt businesses. Common types include:

  • identity theft and fraud
  • online scams
  • attacks on your computer systems or websites

Find out more about cybercrime in Australia.

Cyber security

Cyber security is about protecting your technology and information from:

  • accidental or illegal access
  • corruption
  • theft
  • damage

You need to protect any online information that your business creates and stores, plus information from your customers. Providing a secure system is critical to build and maintain customer trust in your business.

To be effective, you need to make cyber security a part of your daily business processes.

Who could be a cyber threat

Cyber criminals may be an individual or a group of people. Threats to your technology or data might come from:

  • criminals – out for money or information, to illegally access your hardware and data, or to disrupt your business
  • clients you do business with – to compromise your information
  • business competitors – looking to gain an advantage over your business
  • current or former employees – who accidentally or intentionally compromise your information

Ways cyber attacks can happen

Cyber criminals look for information, access to and data on your business, employees and customers. They might do this by:

  • theft or unauthorised access of hardware, computers and mobile devices
  • infecting computers with malware (such as viruses, ransomware, and spyware)
  • attacking your technology or website
  • attacking third party systems
  • spamming you with emails containing malware
  • gaining access to your information through your employees or customers

Learn more about the types of cyber threats to your business.

How a cyber attack could affect your business

A cyber attack could cause you:

  • financial loss – from theft of money, information, disruption to business
  • business loss – damage to reputation, damage to other companies you rely on to do business
  • costs – getting your affected systems up and running
  • investment loss – time notifying the relevant authorities and institutions of the incident

What is at risk

Your money, information, technology and reputation could be at risk. This could include the destruction, exposure or corruption of the following:

  • customer records and personal information
  • email records
  • financial records
  • business plans
  • new business ideas
  • marketing plans
  • intellectual property
  • product design
  • patent applications
  • employee records (which could include sensitive personal identifiable information such as their date of birth)

How to protect your business from cyber threats

To protect your business from cybercrime, try these tips:

  • Develop clear policies and procedures for your business and employees. In them, outline your security measures to protect your systems and information.
  • Produce a cyber security incident response management plan to support your policies and procedures.
  • Train new and existing staff on your cyber security policies and procedures. Include what to do if a cyber threat or incident occurs.
  • Keep your computers, website and point-of-sale systems up-to-date with all software updates or patches.
  • Back-up important data and information regularly. This will reduce the damage if something happens.

Find out how to protect your business from cyber threats.

Cyber security resources for small business

Need more help understanding the basics of cyber security for your business?

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Check out our tips on protecting your business from cybercrime.

Find out how to protect your customers’ information.