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How everyday habits make small businesses a target for cybercrime.

We have already discussed the challenges that small businesses may encounter in 2024, but this seems the most dangerous one.

A study from the Commonwealth Bank found that 78% of small business owners have everyday habits that make them more likely to be victims of cybercrime.

As workers return to the office for 2024, it’s crucial that small business teams stay vigilant and adopt cyber-safe habits to protect their businesses.

Read on to discover the top five habits that increase your chance of experiencing a cybercrime, and how you can combat them…

Putting Computers in ‘Sleep Mode’ Instead of Shutting Them Down

27% of small businesses put their computers in ‘sleep mode’, instead of shutting them down. This increases the risk of out-of-date software, which can give access to cyber criminals.

Cyber-Safe Habit #1: Shut down your computer every night when you finish work.

This will automatically install software updates that can protect against a cyber break-in.

small business cybercrime

Deleting suspicious emails without alerting IT

More than 1 in 5 (21%) small businesses delete suspicious emails they think could be scams. They do this without alerting IT or the head of their business.

Cyber-Safe Habit #2: Sharing suspected scams with the right people helps ensure the senders can be investigated and blocked.

Report scams to the National Anti-Scam Centre (Scamwatch) or the company being impersonated, such as your bank or phone company.

Reusing the same passwords across multiple systems and platforms

26% of small businesses reuse the same passwords across multiple systems and platforms. Additionally, 16% use short passwords, making them easier to crack.

Cyber-Safe Habit #3: Use long, strong, and original passwords.

When we use difficult passwords, we make difficult for criminals to crack one of our passwords. Change your passwords regularly and save them in a secure password manager.

Sharing passwords between team members

20% of small businesses share passwords with each other. It is better for each team member to have their own password, to prevent cybercrime. Do not use one password for everyone. If one person’s password is stolen, all accounts are at risk.

Cyber-Safe Habit #4: Give team members unique logins and passwords.

This is especially important when dealing with sensitive information or financial transactions.

Ignoring software updates

18% of small businesses are ‘snoozing’ software updates. Making updates a priority means you will deliver important bug and security fixes as soon as they become available.

Cyber-Safe Habit #5: Action updates ASAP.

Hackers use these security weaknesses to attack your systems. The sooner you action updates, the sooner you’ll be protected.

cybercrime small business IT team members

By adopting these habits, small businesses can protect themselves against potential threats, data breaches, and financial losses. It’s essential to foster a culture of awareness and ensure all team members are educated on the importance of cyber security.

The Cyber Wardens program, a free, Australian Government-funded initiative, provides training to small business owners and employees on how to digitally safeguard their businesses. This includes essential upskilling on multi-factor authentication, password management, device updates, and backups.

As cybercrime continues to rise, it’s crucial that small businesses take proactive steps to protect themselves. Start the new year with good habits that will help safeguard your small business.

Don’t let your small business fall victim to cybercrime. Together, we can fight back and ensure a safer online environment for small businesses across Australia.


Are you interested in effectively managing your small business? Check out our top five tips for mastering ecommerce.

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