Australia: ‘Unrelenting’ Cyber Attacks on the Rise’

Cyber threats are on the rise and becoming more difficult to defend, with businesses increasingly targeted by cyber criminals, an alarming new report from the nation’s top security brass warns.

The inaugural Australian Cyber Security Centre report – collated by the Australian Federal Police, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, the Defence Intelligence Organisation, the Australian Crime Commission, the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) Australia and the Australian Signals Directorate – tips the cost of these rising threats at more than $1 billion annually and rising.

Cyber attacks reported to the ASD leapt from 313 in 2011 to 1131 in 2014, while CERT responded to 11,073 threats to businesses in 2014. The agencies conceded there were “gaps in our understanding of the extent and nature of malicious activity”, particularly in the private sector.

Clive Lines, Australian Cyber Security Centre co-ordinator, said the report demonstrated that the cyber threat to Australian organisations were “undeniable, unrelenting” and continuing to grow.
The five sectors most at risk of cyber attack were energy, banking, communications, defence and transport.

The number, type and sophistication of cyber threats was increasing in Australia, making detection and response more difficult, the report said.

Confirmed compromises against Australian government systems have fallen since 2012, however.
The report warned of worrying trends including the rise of “cybercrime-as-a-service”, where those inexperienced in the dark arts of the web could simply hire others to commit a cyber crime for them.

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