Every year, cyberattacks continue to worsen globally, and Australia is not spared from this fact. The previous year reported record-breaking data losses due to breaches and other types of cyberattacks on all fronts, from small businesses to government agencies. Cybercriminals have also begun incorporating emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning into their activities, increasing the sophistication of their attacks.
The sudden outbreak of the global pandemic forced everybody to transition into the digital realm. This further expanded the potential number of victims that cybercriminals could prey upon. Businesses that made massive transitions suffered the most amount of damage from these attacks. Now, more than ever, business leaders should heavily consider investing in better services for cybersecurity within their companies.
Cybersecurity in Numbers
In 2020, Australia was targeted by one of the most significant and coordinated cyberattacks it has ever experienced, according to the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC). Since then, the Federal Government has been on high alert against threats of cyberattacks. The Prime Minister noted further that while these kinds of attacks are not entirely new, the frequency at which they have been occurring has been increasing.
The previous year marked a turning point for the state of cybersecurity within Australia. For instance, the Federal Government 2020 Cyber Security Strategy was reported to have been at $1.7 billion. Regardless, the country still experiences some of the most alarming statistics when it comes to cybercrime.
Based on the data presented by the ACSC, approximately 164 cybercrime reports or one report every 10 minutes are made by individual Australians every day. It was also observed that between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020, the ACSC addressed 2,266 cybersecurity incidents and received around 59,806 reports related to cybercrimes.
The most common types of cybercrimes reported in the previous year include fraud, identity theft, phishing scams, and ransomware attacks. It’s also worth noting that these cyberattacks were not only limited to individuals. In certain instances, large businesses were at the receiving end of some of these threats.
Alongside the rising cases of cybercrimes being reported, the economic costs that this presents continue to grow as well. With the recent data, it’s being projected that Australia’s economy could suffer at least $29 billion per year, which is 1.9% of the country’s GDP, due to cyberattacks alone. Globally, cybercrime could cost the world $10.5 trillion annually by 2025.
The most concerning part is that not enough individuals and businesses are protecting themselves from these threats. At least one in three adult Australians use the internet for over six hours a day, while three out of four are online for more than two hours, according to a Cyber Security Research Report published in December 2020.
Australia’s Federal Government regards the growing threat of cybercrime as an urgent matter. The global pandemic outbreak accelerated the country’s shift towards digitalization, which heightened the demand for better cybersecurity policies. This is especially important as the pandemic comes to an end, where remote working and distance learning are expected to persist.
There are already plenty of cybersecurity laws and reforms available to individuals and businesses should a cyberattack target them. However, prevention will always be much better than cure in terms of cyber-related incidents. Businesses should definitely consider bolstering their cybersecurity strategies moving forward.
Investing in cloud-based programs and infrastructures is one of the most secure ways to protect data. Companies that can keep multiple backups of their data can significantly reduce their vulnerability against cyberattacks like ransomware. However, businesses should also be wary when choosing cloud-based platforms. While most of these programs are highly accessible and cost-efficient, not all of them present similar levels of security.
One of the most basic cybersecurity strategies that businesses should practice is safeguarding their networks against unauthorized use. Simply ensuring the password strength of a company’s WiFi network can go a long way. Moreover, companies should also consider incorporating virtual private networks (VPNs) and firewalls for their connections and devices. Regularly updating these software applications should also prove to have significant effects on their cybersecurity.
Culture of Security
Finally, businesses should definitely cultivate an effective culture of security among their employees. Invest in conducting training sessions to create a better sense of awareness and urgency within the company. While it can be difficult to realize, data can also be compromised from within a particular organization. An easy way of mitigating this threat is by establishing strict data access levels across all employees.
Addressing the Demand
Cybersecurity should no longer be neglected, especially with how the current digital landscape is set up. Failing to realize its necessity can result in severe damage and consequences spanning from finances to privacy. Businesses should begin investing in better cybersecurity strategies to minimize the risk of being targeted by cybercriminals drastically.