One in five Australian businesses suffered an electronic breach or cyber attack in 2012. Most report an average of two attacks a year. Companies put their own ability to effectively secure their organisation at 4.5 out of 10. Australia is now 21st in the most attacked nations list, up from 24th.
Statistics on the lack of business cyber security and increase in cyber attacks abound. It's no wonder experts continue to warn that poor security practices can compromise company finances and put commercial and customer information in the wrong hands.
According to Australia's Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) 2012 Cyber Crime and Security Survey Report in February, 20 per cent of Australian businesses were the subject of hacking or other cyber-attacks last year.
The most serious involved the use of malicious software including ransomware and scareware, which extort payments for the return of data; trojan or rootkit malware, which lodge in the company's systems to steal information; theft or breach of confidential information; and denial-of-service (DoS) attacks.
In Operation Lino, Australia's biggest investigation into compromised credit cards, it was found that a Romanian criminal syndicate gained access to 500,000 Australian credit cards, and about 30,000 credit cards were used for fraudulent transactions amounting to more than $30 million.
"Businesses were compromised, where full control of their computers gave full access to point-of-sale terminals, which gave access to details of all credit cards," says Brad Marden, Australian Federal Police acting manager for cyber crime operations.
According to the Symantec Internet Security Threat Report released Tuesday, AUstralia experienced an increase inthe level of cybercrime in 2012 and is now ranked 21st in the most targeted nations by cyber criminals.
Peter Sparkes, Symantec's director for managed security services, said Australia's enthusiasm for technology was partly the reason.
"As a nation of early adopters with a strong economy which uses technology to remain competitive, Australia is turning out to be an attractive target for cybercriminals," Sparkes said in a statement.
A study of 485 Australian technology and security professionals by the Ponemon Institute for Juniper Networks released this week as part of a global survey, found respondents rated their own organisation's security effectiveness as 4.5 out of 10. They rated their organisation's ability to quickly detect and prevent cyber attacks also as poor at 4.4 and 4.6, respectively.