Cyber criminals have exposed the vulnerabilities of the new business environment, shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic, new research has revealed.
Lucas Meadowcroft, co-founder of innovation and IT solutions company CROFTi, has called for increased vigilance amid a spike in cyber crime off the back of the COVID-19 crisis.
Meadowcroft cited data from Scamwatch, which received 24,000 reports of stolen personal information in the months to August 2020, up 55 per cent on the previous year.
“Data from the Centre for Strategic and International Studies shows Australia is the sixth-most hacked country in the world, with a devastating 16 major cyber attacks between May 2006 and June this year,” he said.
The CROFTi co-founder also cited internal data, reporting a 75 per cent year-on-year increase in client scams and cyber attacks.
“These range in size, method of attack and the desired goal of the attacker,” he said.
Meadowcroft said COVID-related business disruptions have heightened cyber security risks.
“Right now, businesses in Australia are at a higher risk than ever of losing valuable data and finances. COVID-19 has seen many people shift to working from home, resulting in a lower level of corporate security,” he said.
“Private information is being sent over social media and other unprotected channels, and there is also a higher use of shared computers and networks due to different working situations.”
Meadowcroft said CROFTi has revamped its service offering to ensure it can provide businesses with the solutions required to thwart increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks.
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“Not only do these cyber attack situations cause incredible financial stress, but in situations when crucial data is lost, businesses can be completely decimated,” he said.
“Earning back the trust of their clients can be impossible and organisations are bankrupted as a result.”
Meadowcroft added, “Relying on police detectives to uncover these disastrous situations is simply impossible. Most of these criminals are protected by anonymity and international borders.”
Earlier this month, the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) launched a new campaign that aims to provide Australian families, business and organisations with the tools to protect themselves against cyber attacks.
The campaign also aims to encourage more Australians to report cyber incidents through the ACSC’s ReportCyber tool.
This new campaign forms part of the Morrison government’s $1.67 billion investment in the Cyber Security Strategy 2020, which Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said is essential to defending Australia’s national interests.
[Related: Defence launches new cyber security campaign]