Are your workers exposing you to cybercrime?

Nearly half of employees are guilty of committing these costly mistakes

Are your workers exposing you to cybercrime?

In Australia, cyberattacks cost the economy more than $1bn a year – yet even global security threats can be traced to a few mistakes that can easily be avoided, new research suggests.

Organisations still fall prey to cybercriminals because of the online behaviour of their staff, according to a study from comparethemarket.com.au.

READ MORE: Hackers reveal how to secure your online identity

Almost half of workers have reportedly committed missteps throughout the course of their work, which increase their employers’ exposure to a cyberattack. 

Such failings – whether deliberate or accidental – give hackers and fraudsters easy access to an organisation’s data. These mistakes include:

  • Downloading attachments or clicking on links in emails from unknown senders
  • Installing apps or downloading video/audio files without clearance from their employer
  • Forwarding viral messages from unknown sources
  • Ignoring computer updates

The most common mistakes are downloading attachments (61%) and clicking on links (50%) from an unknown contact.

“Cybercrime is becoming increasingly sophisticated,” the report notes. “Fake emails, texts and invoices are being sent to both businesses and consumers to access personal information.” 

READ MORE: 5 private PC files you don't want colleagues to see

No matter the size of the organisation, employees tend to fall into the same bad habits across the board. But the highest incidence of risky online behaviour is seen among employees of midsize businesses (with fewer than 200 workers): 53% of respondents from this group realise the negative impact of their habits.

Older employees also appear to have the worst email practices: 67% of those aged 50 to 69 have clicked on an attachment from an unknown sender compared with 54% of workers below 30. 

Forty per cent of cybercrimes cost businesses anywhere from $1,000 to $5,200. “The direct cost of cybercrime can be compounded if it impacts the security of data and personal information stored by the business,” the study finds.

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