All businesses are taking advantage of the efficiency gains that come from an increasing level of connectivity with the world wide web – and the Australian fuel industry is not different.
But this increased level of connectivity also brings a raft of new business threats ranging from a loss of connectivity with customers and suppliers, business interruption and data loss.

The threat is no longer limited to the loss of operation of a single computer due to a virus being downloaded from the web. Cyber-attacks now include the theft of intellectual property and businesses being held to ransom by hackers who threaten to bring down the data systems of a business if a payment is not received to an anonymous bank account.

If you thought the fuel industry was immune to this threat, then you should think again.
“Last year we learnt of three service station businesses in Victoria that received email notifications that their business data had been hacked and that their IT system would be crashed unless a payment was made to the hacker”, said ACAPMA CEO Mark McKenzie.

“These businesses were relatively small but were hit over the Christmas period, when the loss of the payments system even for a day was likely to result in a substantial revenue loss”, said Mark.

Put simply, cyber fraud has grown to such an extent that even small businesses are vulnerable to cyber-attack and there is a need for all businesses to protect themselves against cyber-attack in the future.

“While it is simply not possible to make your business 100% safe, there are some very simple things that can be done to make your business less vulnerable to cyber-attack in the future”, said Mark.

This week, the Australian Government put out an information booklet that provides business owners with guidance on the simple precautions that can be taken to reduce the risk of cyber-attack.

The booklet, entitled “Protect your business in 5 minutes” (https://www.staysmartonline.gov.au/sites/g/files/net1731/f/Stay-Smart-Online-Small-Business-Guide.pdf )provides invaluable guidance for small business owners and is a must read for any business owner.

“The growth in sophistication of cyber-attack and the substantial potential for business harm, means that it is no longer sufficient to just have virus software installed on your computers – there is a need to adopt a suite of business practices that involve all of your staff”, said Mark.

“ACAPMA urges all businesses to be vigilant against cyber-attack, particularly as we enter the busiest period of the trading year for our industry”, said Mark.

Further information on what you can do to make your business cyber safe can be found on the Australian Government’s website via https://www.staysmartonline.gov.au/smallbusinessguide

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