As tensions increase between Russia and Ukraine, Australia faces an increasing threat of a cyberwar. 

Experts have warned us for months that these two countries are on the brink of a civil war. And as a strong ally of the United States and a relatively powerful global player, Australia suddenly has a significant target on its back.

Despite being thousands of kilometres away from the actual action, Australia faces a genuine threat today. While it doesn’t appear the Russian government has specifically targeted Australia, experts say our infrastructure is highly vulnerable, and it would be naive to assume we wouldn’t be affected.

As the conflict between Russia and Ukraine escalates, an unlikely group of hackers could be preparing for a massive bombardment of global cyber attacks.

We are especially vulnerable because we rely heavily on the internet for almost every aspect of our lives. Attacks could be aimed at critical infrastructure and supply chains rather than individual users, and these could cripple industries and businesses in Australia. 

The reality is that cyber warfare is undoubtedly going to be the focal point of this confrontation, and Russia already has a long history of attacking Australian institutions. Russia can hit “soft targets” such as hospitals, schools, businesses, and not-for-profit organisations.

Experts say that Australia is the United States’ strongest, oldest, and most vital military ally. As such, Australia will surely be harmed by any conflict between the US and Russia, so we must be prepared for any hit that may arrive.

In the past, Russia has shown that it can use covert tactics like spreading false information and disrupting communication channels to break up political alliances. Now that the format is virtual, it’s easier than ever for Russia to get hold of legitimate businesses and information sources and use them as launching pads to get more strategic targets and better information.

There could be a rise in cyberattacks, which could prove to be difficult for most companies to prevent because cyber risk management can be very complicated and overwhelming. So below, I will give you simple tips on making your cybersecurity better so that your organisation is less likely to be hacked.

Be ready

Make sure that necessary business and security plans are in place. It is critical to establish a solid foundation for tackling cyber risk and eradicating attack vectors to avoid collateral damage. While numerous security measures exist to fight against certain types of threats, executing a comprehensive zero trust strategy is the most effective way to reduce risk overall.

Improve your company’s cyber defences

Strong security practices, policies, and technology should be used. Passwords should be between 12 and 15 characters in length, with special characters or symbols strategically inserted. Each of your online accounts should have a unique password, and you should use a reliable password manager, such as those offered by Apple, Google, or Microsoft, to assist you in keeping track of them all. Multi-factor authentication should also be used whenever you can.

Increase the alertness of your organisation

Stay up to date with the latest schemes. Never open an attachment from an unknown sender and be suspicious of forwarded attachments from people you know. It is always safer to type the URL directly into your browser rather than clicking on a link or attachment. 

Moreover, it’s also the best decision always to update your antivirus program. Most antivirus software may be set to update automatically. This will help prevent hackers from accessing your computer, laptop, or smartphone and alert you to dubious websites and downloads. Don’t forget to use only trusted Wi-Fi. Free Wi-Fi may be convenient, but hackers might intercept your internet traffic. Lastly, don’t divulge personal data. Be suspicious of any requests for personal information as this could be phishing attacks. 

As the security landscape becomes more complicated and new threats emerge globally, the Wyntec team is here to provide direction and advice on the best practices for keeping your organisation secure. Faced with this political tension, we aim to assist your business in preparing your defences against the world’s most advanced threats.