Here's how important cyber security is to Australia

Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull outlined Australia’s new cyber security strategy, and the $230 million worth of funding the government will be throwing at it over the next four years.

The strategy will consist of five key pillars: strengthening cyber defences, education, partnerships, research and development, and global awareness.

The country’s existing Australian Cyber Security Centre will also be moved from the ASIO headquarters in Canberra to an undisclosed location for easier access to businesses.

Also new is that for the first time, the program will give the government the ability to launch pre-emptive cyber attacks against hacker “safe havens”. The government will work with allies to shut these safe havens down before they get a chance to strike as part of a global initiative.

To get an idea of how the digital security landscape fits in Australia, there’s some super interesting stats.

But first, here’s a live map of cyber attacks as they happen across the world.

And here’s a look at who’s attacking who the most.

Now to those stats, taken from Norton by Symantec’s latest ISTR data sheet.

  • 1 in 328 Australians are hit by Malware attacks, 1 in 2,670 by Phishing attempts and over 50% by spam.
  • There are 500 individual social media attacks per day against Australians, which then in turn affects tens of thousands due to the shared nature of social media.
  • Australia is the fourth most targeted country in the world for spear-phishing attacks.
  • Australia is the ninth most targeted country for ransomware, with over 650 attacks per day.
  • 1.5% of all cyber attacks in the world are launched out of Australia. This compares to 23.7% out of China and 18.9% out of the US.

“While the digital economy is opening up new opportunities for Australia to boost productivity and grow innovation, it has also made Australia one of the world’s most targeted countries for cyber-attacks,” Symantec Australia’s managing director Ian McAdam told Business Insider.

“The investment announced by the government today demonstrates there is no one silver bullet that can protect our nation from cyber security threats.

“The government’s strategy to apply a multi-pronged approach across cyber security education, partnerships, research and development, and global awareness is an important step in helping to reduce cyber security threats.”

He also emphasised the importance of collaborating with other countries acround the world.

“Given the borderless nature of cybercrime, building trusted partnerships with the private sector and other governments to share intelligence that tackles critical cyber risks will be critical to helping Australia stay on the offensive.”

Price Waterhouse Cooper’s cyber partner Richard Bergman also pushed the importance for these changes, pointing out that aggressive rate in which cyber attacks are growing in Australia.

“Our research shows that the frequency of cyber security incidents in Australia almost tripled that of the rest of the world from 2014 to 2015,” he said.

“The average loss experienced by Australian businesses now comes close to equalling the average amount of budget allocated to security.

“We’re treading water when it comes to cyber security rather than protecting and advancing our interests, so this strategy has arrived in the nick of time.”

He also emphasised McAdam’s point around the importance of collaborating with other the government and private industry.

“Attackers can adapt to defences faster than defenders can adapt to attacks, so we are particularly encouraged by the focus on collaboration between Government and industry,” he said.

“Sovereign states and organised criminals are sharing information about how to attack companies and identify their weaknesses so it’s critical the defenders do the same.”

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