Guard your business against cyber attacks

With cyber security threats on the rise, committing to a few easy practices can reduce your risk of being caught in an expensive and damaging ordeal. Making time to protect your business is a small price to pay to keep important information safe.

Held to ransom

WannaCry was a ransomware campaign that hit computer systems of businesses around the world in May. It was one of the largest global ransomware campaigns to date and targeted systems running unpatched versions of Windows. Like other ransomware, WannaCry is a type of malicious software that denies a user access to their files or computer system unless they pay a ransom.

Almost one in five small businesses in New Zealand have been targeted by a cyber attack, with average losses of $19,000, according to 2016’s Norton New Zealand SMB Cyber Security Survey.

The impact of a cyber attack can be as minor as your device running slowly or as major as lost data, stolen money and damage to your reputation. At worst, cyber attacks can shut down businesses and have lasting impacts on people’s lives.

CERT NZ is your first port of call when you need to report a cyber security problem. CERT NZ helps businesses, organisations and individuals identify the next steps to resolve it.

Ransomware(external link) — CERT NZ

Common threats(external link) — CERT NZ



What is it?

This malware — software designed to harm other software — stops systems and computers working until a password is entered. You’ll get a ransom demanding payment, usually to an overseas account, in return for a password. Ransomware also infects smartphones, often through apps downloaded via social media.

What to do

  • If in doubt about an email or text, delete it. Don’t click on the links.
  • Make sure software systems are up to date, particularly antivirus and malware protection software.
  • Don’t open attachments you weren’t expecting or that come from sources you don’t know. 
  • Don’t download apps from sources you don’t know.
Storing data on a hard drive is not without risk — if it gets damaged or lost, so could your data.

Storing data on a hard drive is not without risk — if it gets damaged or lost, so could your data.

Make sure you have backups and encrypt sensitive data.

Steps to protect yourself

While there is no sure way to prevent an attack, there are easy, practical steps you can take to reduce your risk.

Back up data and services

Backing up your computer, phone, apps or other devices means copying and storing the information in a separate location. If you are hit by ransomware attack, you won’t lose your data or be forced into paying money to get it back.

There are a number of ways you can back up your data. It’s important to do so regularly and often.

Up-to-date operating systems

If one of your devices alerts you to an update, don’t ignore it. The latest updates or versions often patch — or repair — any new vulnerabilities to cyber attacks.

Sometimes updating your system is as easy as restarting your computer or device. Other times, you may have to manually accept any new updates. You may be able to set your device’s system preferences to update automatically.

Report it

Use CERT NZ’s free online tool to report any cyber security issues. They’ll help you identify the problem and how to resolve it. CERT NZ works closely with partner agencies like Netsafe and NZ Police, and will pass on incidents as required.

Report an issue(external link) — CERT NZ

CERT NZ will also use the information you provide to create advice and guidance for others. For more tips and advice on how to protect your business online, check out the CERT NZ website.

Cyber security and your business(external link) — CERT NZ

Getting started with cyber security(external link) — CERT NZ

Contacts address book

0800 CERT NZ (0800 2378 69) or +64 3 966 6295 if you are overseas — CERT NZ call centre

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