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Australian cybercrime defence budgets growing in line with number of attacks

  • CEOs to spend A$130 million on cybersecurity protections in 2021.
  • Nearly 75% of businesses experienced 10 security breaches over the past year.
  • 40% of survey respondents encountered more threats throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cybercrime is on the rise across Australia with nearly 75% of businesses experiencing as many as 10 security breaches over the past year, as the sophistication of cybercriminals grows, a new global survey has found.

The Deloitte Global 2021 Future of Cyber Survey of 600 global C-level executives revealed that while the number of incidents is spreading, 93% of Australian respondents remained committed to investing in digital transformation.

Some 75% of leaders with more than A$40 billion in revenue reported that in line with committing expenditure to a digital-first approach, they will spend more than A$130 million on cybersecurity protections this year.

According to Deloitte Australia Cyber Leader Ian Blatchford, it’s a necessary capital outlay with self-reported losses from cybercrime totalling more than A$33 billion.

“Most cyber incidents exploit well-known vulnerabilities. Organisations must ensure their systems are patched with the most up to date vendor patches,” Mr Blatchford told Grafa.

Throughout the 2020-21 financial year, the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) received more than 67,000 cybercrime reports, an increase of nearly 13% from the previous year.

The figure is echoed globally in the Deloitte report, with 40% of respondents experiencing an increase in threats to their organisations throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Increasingly, supply chains are being used to exploit vulnerabilities and organisations need to educate employees particularly in a post-pandemic world of cyber scams where malicious actors are exploiting things like remote working in email scams, Mr Blatchford said.

The vast majority of the Australian leaders surveyed said they will continue to invest in digital transformation, including moving their financial systems or Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) to the cloud.

Ransomware will continue to evolve and get more complex as social engineering continues to increase in sophistication as cybercriminals target a remote workforce in a post-pandemic world, Mr Blatchford said.

It is particularly important for small to medium sized organisations (SMEs) to invest in protecting their businesses as they are particularly vulnerable to these attacks, he said, adding that deep fakes and misinformation make it increasingly difficult to distinguish between real and fake.

“This creates an enormous opportunity for malicious actors to exploit consumers and companies,” Mr Blatchford said.

More than 40% of the Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) surveyed acknowledged that digital transformation and gaining visibility across increasingly complex hybrid ecosystems is the greatest challenge they face.

Over the next three years, CIOs and CISOs will continue to prioritise cybersecurity. Respondents ranked security capabilities (64%), enhancing privacy capabilities (59%), demonstrating compliance capabilities (50%), and improving business efficiency and intelligence (45%) as the drivers for their adoption of emerging technologies.

In building a technology-forward, protected enterprise, the Deloitte report also shows transformation/hybrid IT (41%) and cyber hygiene (26%) represent the most significant challenges for CIOs and CISOs when it comes to managing cyber risk.

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