Serious cyber attacks against Australian companies have almost doubled this year

Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
  • Analysis by Accenture finds that Australian companies are getting twice as many serious hacking attempts this year than last.
  • However, only one in eight focused cyberattacks are getting through in Australia versus one in three last year.
  • It’s also taking less time to detect a security breach.

The average number of focused attacks per organisation in Australia has almost doubled this year to 232, according to analysis by Accenture.

In retaliation, most companies are upping their game, preventing 87% of all focused attacks compared to 70% in 2017, says the 2018 State of Cyber Resilience study which surveyed 4,600 enterprise security practitioners representing companies with annual revenues of $1 billion or more in 15 countries.

“Australian organisations are doing a better job of preventing data from being hacked, stolen or leaked,” says Joseph Failla, Accenture Security Lead for Australia.

These local organisations are looking to gain more ground by increasing their investment in innovative cyber resilient solutions with 79% of Australian respondents citing breakthrough technologies such as machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI) and automation as being essential to this.

“Australian organisations still have more work to do,” says Failla.

“Building and allocating investment for security measures must be a priority for those organisations who want to close the gap on attacks even further. And for those who are successful, reaching a sustainable level of cyber resilience could become a reality in the next two to three years.”

On average, Australian respondents said only two-thirds (62%) of their organisation is actively protected by their cybersecurity program.

And, while external incidents continue to pose a serious threat, the survey reveals that organisations should not forget about the enemy from within.

Two of the top three cyberattacks with the highest frequency and greatest impact within Australian organisations are internal attacks and accidentally published information.

It’s also taking less time to detect a security breach. Nearly half (41%) of Australian organisations are able to remediate a breach in 30 days or less, with 44% of Australian organisations being able to find breaches in 1 to 7 days.

Although Australian companies are detecting breaches faster, security teams are still only finding 57% of them.

Accenture says this underscores the need for collaborative efforts between business and government to stop cyberattacks.

When asked how they learn about attacks they have been unable to detect, Australian respondents indicated that nearly half (48%) are found by white-hat hackers and almost two thirds (62%) through a peer or competitor.

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