Business Systems Security
Computer security threats faced by small businesses in Australia
The Internet is an affordable and effective place for small businesses to sell and advertise their goods and services. However, the web gives chances to deceitful conduct and unapproved access to business and customer information. Attacks on the computer system of a business can have quick and progressive impacts. For example, focusing on clients for character violations or contaminating website visitors with malicious software. It is thought that small business in Australia have been eased back to execute security technology and policies that may protect their information systems, making them quite vulnerable against present and future dangers. In this report, an attempt is made to educate small business owners about the risks that they face and the mitigation strategies they could employ to make their organisation safer.
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In this paper, an overview is given of computer security dangers and threats confronted by small businesses and ventures. Having identified the dangers and threats, the implication for private and small business owners are explained alongside countermeasures that can be embraced to keep incidents from happening. The results obtained from the Australian Business Assessment of Computer User Security (ABACUS) survey, commissioned by the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC), are recorded to identify key risks (Challice 2009; Richards 2009). Added emerging threats relating to cloud computing wireless Internet, and spear phishing are also described, as well as the risks relating to online fraud.
The ABACUS overview was involved in an arbitrary example of small, medium and large business. Businesses were studied to look at the nature and degree of Computer security breaches. Of the 4,000 respondents to the study, 3,290 (82.3%) were small businesses. Contrasted and their extent in the Australian business population, small business were under-examined. In any case, the survey was weighted by industry sort and how large the business is so that the data accumulated by every participant was proportionate in connection to the more extensive population being tested. Challice (2009) gives an outline of the research methodology.
Results of the survey were congruent with previous findings, confirming that small businesses in Australia have embraced the use of technology, with 92 percent using it to some extent during 2006-07 (Richards 2009). Most small businesses reported the use of personal computers (85%) and laptops (54%). Presumably due to smaller staffing levels, fewer small businesses reported the use of a local area network (43%), wide area network (9%) or virtual private network (10%) than medium and large businesses (Richards 2009).
During 2006-07, 14 percent of small companies announced having encountered at least one or more security breach occurrences (Richards 2009). Of these, 83 percent experienced one to five incidents, eight percent experienced six to 10 occurrences and nine percent experienced more than 10 incidents. Negative results were accounted for by 75 percent of small businesses taking after the most huge security incident. These included :
- Corruption of hardware or software (42%);
- Corruption or loss of data (31%);
- Unavailability of service (38%);
- Non-critical operational losses (24%);
- Non-critical financial losses (12%);
- Critical financial losses (5%);
- Theft of business, confidential or proprietary information (5%);
- Theft or loss of hardware (4%);
- Harm to reputation (4%);
- Critical operational losses (4%);
- website defacement (2%); and
- Other (1%; Richards 2009: 69).
When a computer security incident occurred, the average loss to a small business was $2,431 (Richards 2009).
The Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification was used to determine the industry sectors covered by the survey (Richards 2009). The ABACUS results indicated that each industry sector experienced a relatively even proportion of computer security incidents (Richards 2009).
Small Businesses may do not have the ability to distinguish and manage computer security incidents (Williams and Manhcke 2010), making them an appealing focus for online offenders (Verizon 2011). A review of a portion of the threats confronted by small businesses, including the nature of the threat and potential results, is provided in the following section. Situations include malware contamination, wireless internet misuse and session hijacking, online fraud, compromised websites, denial of service attacks, phishing, spear phishing, unauthorised access and risks associated with cloud computing. While this overview is not exhaustive, it aims to increase awareness of the types of vulnerabilities small business operators may face.
viruses, malicious code and spyware as causing the greatest financial loss and 60 percent identified these incidents as being the most significant (Richards 2009).
References to be used:
AusCERT 2008. Protecting your computer from malicious code. Brisbane: University of Queensland. http://www.auscert.org.au/render.html?it=3352
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2010. Counts of Australian businesses, including entries and exits. cat. no. 8165.0. Canberra: ABS. http://www.ausstats.abs.gov.au/ausstats/subscriber.nsf/0/4B1441D347457CF6CA2577C2000F0A05/$File/81650_jun%202007%20to%20jun%202009.pdf
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