Australia is playing catchup on cybersecurity defences

As ransomware and other cyberattacks rise, both the government and organisations are taking steps to protect themselves, but more is needed.

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Australian organisations and the government are playing catchup when it comes to cybersecurity, with the remote work experiment, ransomware attacks, and an uptick in cyberthreats around the world revealing weaknesses in the national cybersecurity defences. While Australia’s new Ransomware Taskforce will help limit current threats, it’s still not enough, with some experts saying Australians need to be looking ahead now to understand emerging threats and avoid damaging attacks in the future.

The Australian government’s recently announced Ransomware Taskforce is a step in the right direction, but the government should be establishing now the task forces for emerging threats, says Alana Maurushat, a professor of cybersecurity and behaviour, and associate dean international at the School of Computers, Data, and Math Sciences at the University of Western Sydney.

“They need to start thinking about the thing that’s going to happen in the next three years. Ransomware is going to move further into personal medical information. Sensors will increasingly be interwoven and built into all critical infrastructure, but the security isn’t keeping pace with what the cybercriminals intentions are in this space,” Maurushat tells CSO Australia.

Maurushat says there is nothing to lose in predicting potential threats. “Even if you put three ideas out there that may emerge as cybercrime and cybersecurity threats in the next three to five years, and one of them was just completely off the mark and dumb or wrong, it would not have been time wasted, because one or two of the other ideas you would have nipped in the bud before they happened,” she says.

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