Small businesses in regional areas can not afford to ignore the threat of cybercrime, an expert has told attendees of an event at Dubbo.
Paul Byrne, the co-founder of a firm that empowers cyber defenders, warns cybercrime is a global issue that knows no borders, and that regional areas are "particularly exposed".
Perpetrators were deploying their sophisticated technology to attack undefended small businesses, he said.
Mr Byrne issued the stark warning during an address at diga.tech, which was hosted by Dubbo Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday.
Mr Byrne, co-founder and CEO of Melbourne-based Amplify Intelligence, welcomed the chance to raise awareness of cyber criminal techniques at the event.
He said he had some key messages for the employers and employees attending.
"Small businesses can no longer keep their head in the sand," he said.
"Doing nothing is no longer an option. The level of threats continue to change, and traditional approaches are no longer effective.
"Cybercriminals have taken their banking attack technology and targeted it to undefended small business.
"Bank grade attacks require small business to have bank-like security."
Mr Byrne said the internet had been great to connect businesses with the global economy, but it had also opened them up to global threats.
"These criminals do not discriminate on where a business is geographically," he said.
"There is a global skills shortage of cyber defence with banks and enterprises owning most of them, and keeping them in cities.
"This makes regional areas particularly exposed."
The most important action to help manage any risk was to measure it and that was Mr Byrne's key advice on the topic.
"Without visibility of what is going on in your IT you are flying blind," he said.
"Like knowing your cashflow and balance sheet is critical to managing financial risks, you need to have a dashboard of your cyber threats and internal IT to manage cyber risks.
"By accessing such bank-like capabilities and expert advice your business can stay safe."
Chamber president Matt Wright said: "Our job as business owners is to try and protect ourselves against what they [cyber criminals] are trying to achieve."
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