Experts estimate that Cybercrime is costing the Australian economy over $1 billion per year, targeting individuals and businesses alike.
Cyber crimes have been in the headlines lately, with viral ransomware attacks such as WannaCry and Petya swiftly attacking governments, businesses and organisations worldwide. These attacks demonstrate that cybercriminals and their strategies are becoming bolder and more sophisticated in their scale and ruthlessness. Most in danger are individuals and businesses who continue to remain unaware of the real dangers of cybercrime.
Most ransomware is undetectable without a virus scanner until it attacks, and some work by deleting or locking files with paying a large ‘ransom’ price often the only hope of recovery- although recently some do not offer the file back at all, working purely to create chaos.
With this global growth in cyber crime, the Australian government is also ramping up activity to combat these threats. They have recently implemented a new policy in directives to the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) to aggressively deny, disrupt and deter threats coming from offshore cybercriminals with offensive responses. The ASD are set to fight an online war with a range of resources geared to combat malware, information phishing and new sinister attacks.
In working with the Australian government and Interpol, ASD will pinpoint, disrupt, and take action against cybercriminals both at home and hiding abroad. The network of agencies will collaborate with other national governments, protecting the mutual interest in safeguarding against cyber threat.
Everyday Australians also have a role to play in combating cyber threats, protecting both themselves and their contacts. It can be as basic as installing the latest anti-virus program to protect your personal system on all your devices, and educating yourself and your community on how to identify potential threats, whether they be emails masquerading as bills or unfamiliar links sent through social media.
With internet connections more common than ever, and the rollout of the nbn to every home in Australia getting more people online, it’s important to recognise the dangers of clicking strange content or providing personal information online. If you believe you may have been the victim of malware or had your identity stolen, you can contact the ACCC, and report malicious pages to google.
Remember to stay vigilant, protect your identity, and if you don’t trust a url or an email, don’t click on it!