4 min read  | cyber risks

The main cyber risks for Australian businesses in 2019

What the recent data breach of the Australian National University shows is that no organisation, large or small, is truly safe. Criminals can weaponise information of any kind to inflict financial and reputational damage, and businesses need to be proactive in their assessment of cyber risks. With most firms relying on an increasing number of IT and cloud-based systems, the threats will only get worse. There are numerous avenues through which various actors can breach your information systems, but these are the most pressing ones in 2019.

The most prevalent cyber risks


Using malicious software that is mostly delivered by email, hackers can encrypt data and extort you, releasing an unlock code only when you've paid the necessary amount. This is one of the most common cyber risks businesses face, but it seems that we aren't any wiser in confronting it.

To make sure your firm is well-equipped to handle ransomware, install antivirus and malware protection applications, maintain proper data backups, and ask your staff to follow appropriate safety measures, being wary of unsolicited emails arriving their way.


Phishing is an attempt to gain sensitive data while posing as a trustworthy and reliable contact. This, too, is mostly done through emails, where employees and management receive messages that seem entirely legitimate, with the appropriate text, logos, and email signatures, all in a concerted effort to deceive them.

In 2019, phishing is becoming more sophisticated, with criminals using machine learning applications to craft more tailored and targeted messages, extracting login info, credit card details, and other financial data.

With proper spam filters and anti-malware software, you should be relatively safe, but always be mindful of unexpected emails coming your way.


You can have all the appropriate measures in the office to reduce or eliminate cyber risks, but data could still find its way into the wrong hands, mostly because people take work out of the office through laptops, mobile devices, and portable storage options.

Protocols to prevent data leakage won't be foolproof, but the following steps should avoid the most egregious leaks.

• Have passcode locks on all mobile devices.
• Turn on tracking by GPS and the option to erase data on a device remotely.
• Use encryption software on portable storage devices.


Gaining access to IT systems from outside is extremely beneficial to hackers. They can get their hands on bank details, credit card info, and even intellectual property. Use several lines of defence utilising network firewalls, data access security, and staff training.

A unique challenge in today's business environment appears through third-party vendors, contractors, and partners. These entities may not have the cybersecurity capabilities you possess, but by having access to some or all of your business data, they pose a significant threat if breached. Going forward, it'll be necessary to ensure that these external stakeholders have similar goals when it comes to digital security.


Top cybersecurity experts are using artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities to anticipate, identify, and prevent attacks altogether. The problem is that hackers are using the same technology to launch more sophisticated intrusions. In some cases, AI is being used to trick security programs that spot malicious activity and code. The cyber risks created through AI will only get more severe, so businesses will need to step up their cybersecurity investments as a response.


The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the growing network of smart devices that are connected to each other. This increases the number of entry points that hackers can exploit to infiltrate information systems. A perfect example of the many cyber risks this presents is seen in the healthcare industry. With the increasing digitisation of medical records and the interconnectedness of numerous medical devices, a hacker can target a wide range of systems and hardware to gain access and control. For instance, someone can conceivably control a device connected to a patient, playing around with drug doses and electrical signals to cause serious harm.

In the future, the combination of AI and IoT will present the most challenging cyber risks for organisations to tackle.


The only response to the growing number and intensity of cyber risks is to strengthen your existing cybersecurity measures, and that is something we at Triskele Labs can help businesses with. From penetration testing to assess your current security measures to our 24x7x365 Security Operations Centre providing around-the-clock protection, our services look at all possible facets of online protection.

For more information, email us or call 130024CYBER.