Two weeks ago, ACAPMA ran a story on cyber security in connection with national the Australian Government’s Cyber Security Week.

In the story we noted that the cyber security threat is no longer limited to the failure of a computer as a result of a virus being downloaded from the web.
Rather, cyber-attacks were becoming increasingly sophisticated and often involved businesses being held to ransom by computer hackers threatening to bring down the data systems of a business unless a ransom payment was made to an anonymous bank account.

This week, ACAPMA learned of two new instances of fuel businesses that had recently experienced problems with computer hackers.

In the first instance, a large fuel distributor learned that their computer system had been hacked after chasing up a fuel retailer for an alleged late payment for fuel deliveries.

As it turned out, someone had hacked into the financial system of the fuel distributor and secretly changed the bank account details on the invoicing system. As a result, the customer had made a substantial payment into an account that did not actually belong to the fuel distributor.

In the second case, computer hackers infiltrated the email system of a fuel wholesaler. The hacker then sent an internal email using a senior manager’s email account, directing that an urgent electronic payment be made to an external bank account.

“Both examples show how sophisticated computer hacking has become and how easily businesses can lose money as a result of computer hacking”, said ACAPMA CEO Mark McKenzie

While the margins in fuel businesses are lean, the large sums of money that pass through fuel businesses make our industry a prime target for these types of sophisticated hacks, said Mark.

Put simply, cyber fraud has grown to such an extent that all businesses – regardless of size – 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 not possible to make your business 100% safe, business owners can take some simple steps to reduce the risk of their IT systems being compromised.
These steps are detailed in a new information booklet produced by the Australian Government entitled “Protect your business in 5 minutes” (https://www.staysmartonline.gov.au/sites/g/files/net1731/f/Stay-Smart-Online-Small-Business-Guide.pdf ). The booklet is a must read for all business owners and senior managers.

“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 new business processes that involve all of your staff”, 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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