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Cyber attacks cause data breach costs to soar

Tuesday, 13 August 2019


Australian businesses are struggling in the fight against malicious cyber attacks and human error, losing $3 million in the past year and taking 281 days to manage the average data breach, according to the IBM Security Cost of a Data Breach Report 2019.

Paul Haskell-Dowland, Associate Professor and Associate Dean (Computing and Security) at Edith Cowan University's School of Science, is available for interview and expert comment on recent high-profile data breaches and their cost.

The new IBM research shows Australian organisations lag behind their offshore counterparts, taking 200 days on average to identify a data breach and another 81 days to contain it.

World-leading German businesses take 131 days to identify a breach and 39 days to contain it. The US, UK and Canada also outperform Australia.

Paul Haskell-Dowland can speak to the following points of news interest:

  • The fallout from the recent NAB breach and other major data breaches.
  • The best ways organisations can prevent future losses.
  • The IBM report reveals the average cost of a data breach worldwide increased to $5.52 million (US$3.92 million) in the last year. The US leads at $11.53 million (US$8.19 million).
  • Malicious attacks caused most data breaches (51%) and were the costliest. Lost business is the biggest contributor to data breach costs.
  • The good news for Australia is that where a data breach occurred, local organisations had the smallest average number of breached records. Reflecting that, the average cost in Australia was the fourth lowest globally.
  • A separate report from the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) reveals that almost 1000 data breaches were notified to the OAIC from 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019, with 60% were traced back to malicious or criminal attacks and just over one third due to human error.
  • The education sector is more exposed than most when it comes to cyber attacks, as highlighted by recent data breaches at ANU and Australian Catholic University.
  • A chronic shortage of cyber security professionals in Australia raises the risks and potential cost of future data breaches.


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