3 key cybersecurity threats facing Australian businesses

Cybersecurity is becoming increasingly important for Australian businesses.
Posted on July 24, 2017 in Business

The threat of cybersecurity breaches is growing in Australia. Cybercrime costs the economy approximately $1 billion each year, according to Federal Government figures, with businesses footing a bill of $276,323 on average per incident.

Fortunately, organisations seem to be waking up to the dangers. Recent KPMG data showed 80 per cent of businesses opted for 'high investment' towards their cyber defences over the last year, compared with 66 per cent of global enterprises.

Nevertheless, 57 per cent still feel unprepared for the risks that cybercriminals pose. Let's take a look at some of the main threats that Australian companies face.

The latest ACSC Cyber Security Survey found that 19 per cent of Australian organisations had fallen victim to a successful DDoS incident in 2015-16.

1. Ransomware

Ransomware is malicious software that threatens to delete essential information stored on your computer unless a payment is made to cybercriminals.

Sadly, a Trend Micro poll of UK companies last year revealed that while two-thirds of respondents paid the ransom, 20 per cent still didn't receive their data back.

Several high-profile ransomware incidents have blighted global businesses in 2017, including the WannaCry attack in May and the following month's Petya virus.

Organisations across the nation reported four times as many ransomware attacks in 2015 as in 2013, the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) revealed last year.

2. Internal threats

Businesses spend a lot of time, effort and resources tackling external threats to their operations, but they often forget to protect themselves against insiders.

The IBM X-Force 2016 Cyber Security Intelligence Index found that 60 per cent of all attacks over the previous 12 months were due to employee actions, some of which were malicious while others occurred inadvertently.

One-third of breaches could be traced to unsuspecting staff failing to follow cybersecurity policies or mistakenly allowing outsiders access to information. A common problem is workers opening emails or attachments laden with viruses.

MGA Insurance Brokers and cyber insurance. DDoS attacks are cheap to launch but costly for businesses to defend against.

3. Distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS)

DDoS attacks are fairly unsophisticated, but that doesn't make them any less costly or inconvenient.

Cybercriminals overwhelm a target network with spam traffic, preventing legitimate users from getting through and eventually crashing the system entirely. One KPMG and BT study cited research that estimated DDoS attacks cost just US$5 (AU$6.2) to launch but $40,000 to defend against.

The latest ACSC Cyber Security Survey found that 19 per cent of Australian organisations had fallen victim to a successful DDoS incident in 2015-16.

Unfortunately, even the most well prepared organisations can suffer the financial and reputational losses associated with an attack. This is why many businesses choose comprehensive cyber insurance to provide peace of mind should their defences fail.

Please contact MGA Insurance Brokers to discuss your cyber insurance needs in today's rapidly evolving threat landscape.