CyberWardens is a $23.4 million government program designed to assist small Australian businesses in protecting against cybercrime.

Beginning last year, the three-year initiative aims to help small businesses build cyber resilience.

It is a timely resource. The vast majority of cyber attacks target businesses, and the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) advises that the average cost of cybercrime for small business last financial year was $46,000, rising to $97,000 for medium-sized businesses.

Hospitality businesses are a hot target, with a recent attack coming via Microsoft 365.

The CyberWardens program itself is a simple, free 45-minute online session, with no tech skills required.

Just like having a workplace health and safety officer is important for physical health in the workplace, a cyber warden will take care of digital safety.

Fortunately, there are many measures businesses can take to protect themselves.

The top three improvements that the ASD recommends are to turn on multi-factor authentication, update all software, and to back up information regularly.

CyberWardens adds that cyber first aid should also include an awareness of potentially dodgy emails or texts, and to set and regularly update security passphrases.

For cyber security to be effective, all staff need to be cyber-smart; cyber security is a team effort.

In businesses where updates are snoozed or passwords are shared, this course is an important tool.

As an added incentive, anyone who signs up and completes the free course before the end of the financial year could win $1,000.

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