The spate of brazen cyber attacks against strategically important organisations like the NZX and Metservice must prompt Kiwi businesses to rethink their cyber security.
The attacks are a wake-up call for New Zealand businesses to step up their threat protection and contingency planning systems. Professional services firm Accenture says businesses must invest in scalable security tools and upskilling of their people so they can spot cyber threats.
Ben Morgan, Managing Director of Accenture New Zealand, says “In recent months we have seen a marked increase in the number of cyber threats, particularly from cyber criminals looking to exploit COVID-19. Many of these hacks target employees and take the form of emails claiming to be from government agencies or suppliers asking users to click on a link for more information about the virus.”
Cyber attacks tend to focus on one of a few goals: ransoms; credential and identity theft; or disruption and destruction. Recent attacks on New Zealand companies have locked employees out of their logistics and payroll systems, and cyber criminals have demanded payment to enable access to these applications.
Retailers also need to be conscious of the threat of cyber attacks as the global pandemic has sped up the transition to ecommerce. Many Kiwi retailers had to scramble to bring their ecommerce channels online, as New Zealanders embraced online shopping during lockdown. Accenture expects Kiwis to continue to make good use of online shopping channels, so it is important that retailers take the necessary security precautions. While Ecommerce platforms make shopping a lot more convenient for customers, they also present a target for cyber criminals looking to steal customers’ identities and financial information, or hold retailers to ransom.
Here are Morgan’s specific tips for retailers:
- Instil a “security first” ethos, using up-to-date company information protection procedures, while making sure that computers and devices include the most current system and application versions.
- Consider managed services and automate to increase the scalability and flexibility of your cyber defences.
- Use cloud-based solutions to meet the increased demand for a fast, frictionless and secure remote access to enterprise data and applications.
- Adopt a team culture of cyber security. Team members should be taught how to spot potential threats targeting them via email, and provided with a way to report them.
Find out more about Accenture and its recent research on security tools here.