Expert panel: Australia ripe for “cyber tsunami”

22 June 2018

Written by: Ann Khorany

Cybersecurity experts discuss the challenges that institutions face as data breaches continue to increase

“It’s not just one burglar outside your door, it’s all the burglars. It’s all the best burglars,” David Watts, Former Victorian Commissioner for Privacy and Data, told an expert panel on Thursday.

The discussion, staged by La Trobe University’s Bold Thinking Series, examined the numerous cybersecurity threats currently faced by Australian organisations and individuals.

According to the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC), Australia’s agile economy and its population’s high use of online banking, social media and online shopping, make it a desirable target for cybercriminals.

Despite the fact that constant technological advancements are connecting people around the globe and placing an array of data at their fingertips, institutions are still vulnerable to experiencing cybercrime.

Cyber and Forensic Services Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Australia Megan Haas says that business are becoming more exposed to the threat. One way is through the adoption of multiple connectivity services such as online web chat to increase ease of use.

“Businesses are evolving… we’re trying to make it easier to engage with our customers, [but that’s] also opening up the door to a wide array of potential attack vectors,” she said during the panel.

Simon Ractliffe, current Head of Cyber Security at Optus says that there is a high potential for a “cyber tsunami,” as businesses primarily focus on marketing new services and products. He believes cybersecurity threats could become “an afterthought”.

Preparation is key. Hass recommends that businesses envisage what could be “a potential target” for hackers and then build a strategy for to protect their data.

Meanwhile, Dr Watts suggests that to minimise and ultimately prevent organisations and individuals from being targeted and hence experiencing data breach, Australia needs to implement new data regulation policies that include “more consequences”

“We need something like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that has been brought into effect in Europe to apply in Australia,” he said.

As a result, this would provide “much more consumer control” to personal data and allow people to protect themselves from being profiled by online hackers.

The ACIC encourages anyone who has fallen victim to cybercrime or is currently facing any delinquency to report his or her instance of cybercrime to the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN).


Ann Khorany is a first-year journalism student at La Trobe University. Follow her thoughts on Twitter @ann_saka

Cover photo:  Soumil Kumar from Pexels