Expert issues warning as Australia grapples with escalating cyber threats

OKTA Australia and New Zealand managing director Phil Goldie has put a spotlight on the ongoing cyber threat faced by Australia, resulting in an estimated annual economic loss of $33 billion.

In an interview with Sky News Australia, Goldie emphasised the substantial impact of cyberattacks on Australian entities. Reflecting on the past 12 months, he noted the shift of cyberattacks from rare occurrences to a more prevalent business challenge in 2023.

“The costs are high, it’s costing an average of $50,000 to $100,000 for every organisation that’s impacted and net to the Australian economy it’s $33 billion at best estimates, so significant problem at significant scale,” he added.

Rise in scams

This month has already been notable for its volume of cyber incidents, with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) most recently monitoring instances of scammers exploiting its identity. In a statement, ASIC said scammers falsely claimed to assist consumers in recovering funds lost through initial scams – all for a fee.

Meanwhile, ScamWatch warned that January usually sees a surge in individual scam reports, with 57,000 reports filed in the initial two months of 2023. In response, ANZ advised Australians to stay vigilant against scams and enhance their personal information security.

Calls for an increase in cyber resilience

As the threat of cyberattacks intensifies, calls for increased resources for company protection and regulatory changes to empower businesses in countering criminals have gained momentum.

Goldie noted the importance of hiring employees with enhanced digital skills, signalling companies’ recognition of the need for more proactive measures. While welcoming new government regulations on AI, he acknowledged their role in enhancing Australia’s cybersecurity laws, crucial for a nation “always under attack.”

Meanwhile, KPMG cybersecurity partner Paul Black emphasised the need for businesses to take internal steps in managing their data effectively, especially unstructured file servers containing sensitive information.

“No-one wants to go in and remove the information in case it’s needed, like the phone number of a former financial officer for example,” he told Sky News Australia. “It’s the wild west of data and often it’s only after hackers have obtained the data that companies will do a process to actually determine what was there.”


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