Lack of multi-factor authentication worries Aussie CSOs more than COVID-19 malware

Surveys confirm that remote work has turned Australia’s corporate security priorities on their heads.

A conceptual representation of accessing username and password credentials.
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An inability to implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) has been the biggest threat to the security of Australian companies during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new survey that found inadequate identity management has perpetuated gaps in cyber security protections for companies with increasing numbers of remote workers.

Fully 46 per cent of companies with 251 to 500 employees said inability to adopt MFA had proven to be their biggest challenge during the pandemic, with half of financial services firms and 29 per cent of all companies reporting such problems in VMware Carbon Black’s recent Australia Threat Report.

Some 96 per cent of the 250 surveyed Australian CIOs, CTOs and CSOs said their organisations had suffered from a data breach after a cyber attack in the past 12 months—up from 90 per cent in 2019 and 81 per cent in February 2018—reflecting a growing intensity of cyber security attack that has reached fever pitch during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Australian respondents cited the most common causes of breaches as operating system vulnerabilities and third-party application breaches (cited by 18 per cent of respondents each), with 13 per cent of breaches due to successful web application attacks.

Surges in the number of remote workers had accentuated the effect of deficiencies in organisational disaster-recovery planning, with 84 per cent of respondents saying they had discovered gaps around communications with external parties and 48 per cent saying those gaps were significant.

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