Threat intelligence puts on an Australian accent

Details of local breaches are being collated to inform a better cybersecurity response.

An australian iconic road sign with kangaroo showing a long road with bright blue sky
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As new analyses find cyber criminal activity levels surging, with Australian businesses and government agencies among the world’s most intensely targeted, localised threat-intelligence efforts are fostering new collaborations by helping organisations document and learn from past breaches.

Those breaches—hundreds of which have been reported to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) in the last two years alone—have added up, with a recent SpecOps analysis finding that Australia had suffered the sixth highest rate of “significant cyber attacks” between May 2006 and June 2020. SpecOps defines “significant” attacks as those targeting a country’s government agencies, targeting defence and high-tech companies, or being economic crimes with losses of $1 million or more.

Australia has 16 such attacks during the reporting period, putting it behind the US (156), the UK (47), India (23), Germany (21), and South Korea (18). To put it in perspective, that gives Australia a similar cyber security exposure to Ukraine, a contentious political target that also suffered 16 attacks during an escalating cyber conflict that spawned the globally disastrous Petya malware attack.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison took to the podium last month to warn about “sophisticated” cyber attacks on the country’s businesses and government agencies, following soon after with $1.4 billion in spending commitments designed to bolster the country’s defensive and offensive cybersecurity capabilities.

That investment caps off years in which the Australian government has been working to formalise and consolidate the country’s cyber security capabilities into a consistent national structure that includes incident response support and fostering local cyber security innovation.

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