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Westpac launches free cyber response playbook for SMEs

Today, Westpac launched its free Cyber Response Playbook to help counter the increase in cyber attacks after new research emerged showing almost half (49 per cent) of Australian small and medium sized businesses reported experiencing a cyber attack in the last 12 months.

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Wed, 31 Aug 2022
Westpac launches free cyber response playbook for SMEs
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With almost two-thirds planning to invest in cyber security measures in the next 12 months, Richard Johnson, Westpac’s group chief information security officer, explained the Westpac research shows a key priority for business owners is "preparing for and mitigating cyber attacks".

"Almost 90 per cent 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.

“In the 2020-21 financial year, cyber attacks accounted for $33 billion in self-reported losses nationwide.

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"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," Johnson said.

Almost a fifth (17 per cent) of SME organisations had to shut operations until the issue was fixed, one in four (25 per cent) lost data and nearly a 10th (8 per cent) had to pay a ransom to end the attack.

Phishing (30 per cent) was found to be the most common type of cyber attack, followed by malware attacks (21 per cent).

The Westpac research also showed just over three out of five (62 per cent) small and medium sized businesses will invest in cyber security measures in the next 12 months, while 41 per cent said they have a cyber attack response plan in place.

Westpac's Cyber Response Playbook is designed to provide businesses with an outline of a five-step plan to manage a cyber attack, which includes tools such as tips to gather key contacts, through to helping SMEs understand how to detect and contain a threat, before resetting and restoring their business online.

Derek Bopping, first assistant director-general, cyber, engagement and strategy division at the Australian Cyber Security Centre, explained that combatting a security breach means a planned response is key.

"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."

"A cyber response plan is crucial for hitting the ground running if there is a cyber incident.

"As threats continue to rise, we encourage every business to spend time planning for a potential attack," Bopping said.

[Related: New top secret Sydney cyber security centre operational]

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