Move over asset misappropriation and procurement fraud – cybercrime is now the number 1 economic crime in Australia.
It may or may not come as a surprise that Australia is a hotbed for cyber criminal activity with the AGL Energy phishing email scam that occurred just a few weeks ago, which successfully targeted over 10,000 Australians. However did you know that Australian organisations actually experienced cybercrime at double the global rate over the past 24 months?
According to cybersecurity company, Rapid7, Australia is the 4th most susceptible country most vulnerable to hacking based on the high number of insecure internet channels and networks globally. These vulnerabilities were based on a variety of measurements including server ports that expose databases directly instead of being securely locked as well as out-of-date email encryption. If servers are not encrypted, this means that anyone can spy on the database which may have sensitive data on it.
Sadly, many 3rd world and developing nations have better cyber security compared to Australia. The most vulnerable countries around the world for cybercrime according to this study are:
- Hong Kong
- Dominican Republic
- South Africa
- United States
What is the Australian Government doing about Cybercrime?
ComputerWeekly.com reported that the Australian Government does know about cybercrime being an issue however analysts warn that the Government underestimates the enormity of the problem despite reports highlighting the reality of the issue. However, the May 2016 budget does allow for $230 million to be spent for 33 new cyber security initiatives which will take place under a four year plan. However this is currently under hiatus as the Government goes into caretaker mode during the election so any of these new initiatives will not take place until after the election in July 2016. Fortunately, these initatives have received bipartisan support.
While $230 million may sound like a lot, the United Kingdom and the United States have announced similar packages prior to Australia’s announcement of a cyber security package. The US Government has declared a national emergency in cyberspace and has allocated a budget a whopping 400 times bigger, whilst the United Kingdom’s budget is 10 times bigger than Australia’s. Australian cyber security experts claim that there is complacency as the rhetoric is that there is a lack of urgency to ensure that Australia prevents cyber crime compared to other key markets despite Australian Government agencies being compromised.
Are Australian Organisations Up To Date with Cyber Security?
It is without a doubt that cyber security jobs for applicants with the right mix of skills are in demand to deter cyber thieves from attacking Australian organisations. At the moment, demand for suitably qualified IT professionals with up-to-date cyber security knowledge is high. However, Greg Austin of the Australian Centre for Cyber Security says in Computer Weekly that, “There were still pockets of security professionals trained in the 1990s and 2000s whose skills were outdated, and that “the cyber threats today are qualitatively different”.
Things that Australian individuals and organisations can do to protect themselves are:
- Make sure that all servers are encrypted
- All anti virus and internet security is up to date. Paid versions are recommended.
- The latest versions of browsers used on the computer and tablet devices should be used
- Secure your home and business WiFi
- Stay safe online when you are using public WiFi
- Protect yourself against spam and phishing scams
We also have a handy PDF checklist of 11 things that you can do to prevent cyber criminals from stealing money from online bank account.
Do you think Australians should take cyber security more seriously? What are you doing to help prevent personal and business cybercrime?