In Australia, data loss and theft of confidential information incidents rose by 78.7 percent in 2018 compared to 2017 and data breaches experienced through third-party providers and suppliers rose by 74.3 percent, according to the BDO and AusCERT 2018/19 Cyber Security Survey

The survey results highlighted the following cyber attack trends:

  • Phishing has consistently increased to become the most common incident experienced by survey respondents.
  • Adversaries are moving away from ransomware and malware exploits as there has been a significant fall in the number of attacks between 2017 and 2018. Looking at year-on-year, ransomware experienced a 44.3-percent drop in frequency. Ransomware, which involves unauthorized modification of information, can partially explain the more dramatic 70.9 percent drop in unauthorized modification of information incidents, the survey said. 
  • Data loss/theft of confidential information has risen rapidly since 2017. Respondents also reported an increase in the data breach via third party provider/supplier category.
  • Denial of service attacks have decreased from 2017.
  • Most organizations were confident in meeting compliance regulations as outlined by recently introduced cybersecurity and data privacy legislation; however, 66 percent of businesses surveyed have no predefined plan or capability to contain, eradicate and recover from cybersecurity incidents.
  • On average, the cost to an Australian organization for a data breach is almost $2 million. The potential for huge financial implications is one reason 86.4 percent of survey respondents indicated they expected to have a cyber security awareness plan in place within the next 12 months. By 2020, 84.8 percent of respondents plan to implement regular cybersecurity risk assessments.
  • Respondents are anticipating data loss and theft of confidential information to be the most prevalent threat in 2019 and beyond, with respondents expecting attacks coming from activists (80 percent), insiders (68 percent), or foreign nationals (10 percent).