A new online tool to help small-to-medium businesses test how resilient they are to cyberattacks is being launched as the Albanese Government takes immediate steps to prevent Australians from being targets of cybercriminals.
Exercise in a Box will be rolled out on Thursday after being developed by the Australian Cyber Security Centre in conjunction with the UK, and works by taking staff through a series of questions on cyber security.
On completion, a report is generated as highlights where a business can improve its cyber security with advice on how to remediate risks.
ACSC Cyber Security Resilience first assistant director-general Stephanie Crowe said it was often too late to uplift cyber posture once an incident had occurred.
“It is very important for individuals and businesses to do the work now to stay secure online,” Ms Crowe said.
“This fantastic free tool allows you to practice your response to a cyber incident — whether it’s a data breach, ransomware attack, or a compromised system — in a safe environment at a time that works for you, your staff and your business.
“Our aim is to help make Australia the most secure place to connect online. Cyber security is everyone’s responsibility.”
Australians have faced a significant jump in cyber attacks and threats over the past year and the problem has only escalated further with the high-profile hacks of Optus and Medibank.
The latest annual cyber threat report — released this month — showed more than 76,000 cybercrimes were reported to the ACSC in the past financial year.
This is an increase of almost 13 per cent from 2020/21.
If you come and try to hurt our citizens, then we are going to come after you.
On average, one cybercrime is reported every seven minutes, compared to every eight minutes the previous year.
Victims in WA reported the second highest losses in the country, suffering an average hit of more than $29,000 each.
A total of 447 ransomware incidents were reported in the past 12 months with the average loss being $39,000 for small businesses, and $88,000 for medium businesses.
Ransomware is when software designed to block access to a computer system is used until a sum of money is paid by the victim.
WA reported the highest financial loss for business email compromise — where criminals target organisations and try to scam them out of money — with several transactions made above $1 million.
The energy sector is the State’s most at risk.
Cyber Security Minister Clare O’Neil this week launched Australian Cyber Week to bring together experts, leaders and government to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the sector.
It comes as Australia’s fourth Cyber Security Sector Competitiveness Plan has also been released, revealing there will be a shortage of 3000 cyber security workers in Australia by 2026, and a doubling of attacks in the next five years.
Ms O’Neil said a new taskforce led by the Australian Federal Police and Australian Signals Directorate to investigate cybercriminal activity would send a strong message to hackers considering launching an attack.
“There is a cost to coming after us here in Australia so this is part of our country punching back,” Ms O’Neil said.
“If you come and try to hurt our citizens, then we are going to come after you.”
To report a cybercrime, contact the Australian Cyber Security Hotline on 1300 CYBER1 (1300 292 371).
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