Australian small businesses under cyberattack: Some help is coming

Small businesses form a large part of the economy, but individually struggle with the skills, tools, and capabilities to fend off a growing surge of cybersecurity risks.

The New South Wales Labor Party—a relatively small operation that supports more than 13,500 members—is said to have just days before ransomware extortionists publish a trove of confidential data, including passports, driver’s licences, and employment contracts.

That hack is just another data point in a surging attack climate that is, recent FireEye Mandiant figures suggest, increasingly focused on retail and hospitality businesses.

Even as the NSW Labor Party works to avert compromise at the hands of a Russian ransomware group, other Australian small and medium enterprises are gaining access to a range of new cybersecurity support resources through new Australian government initiatives targeting the chronic vulnerability gap that has kept small businesses struggling to keep up with changing cybersecurity threats—and posing significant supply-chain risks as a result.

Government funding for small-business cybersecurity programs

Some $6.9 million in funding, announced under the Cyber Security Business Connect and Protect Program, will be split among 14 successful applicants—who have launched small-business-focused programs ranging from IT Connexion’s Cyber Security Awareness Training and Loyal IT Solutions’ Cyber Secure Central Coast! to CyberCX’s Cyber123 for SME and Real World Technology Solutions’ Cyber Security Resilience within SMB, Charity & Indigenous Businesses endeavour.

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