Home Technology Security Aussie firms’ data are choice targets for cyberattackers

Aussie firms’ data are choice targets for cyberattackers

Australian data appears to be the favoured target for cyberattackers, with organisations reporting the highest rate of data breaches across the globe in 2023. 

This is one of the key Australian findings from the latest research by Rubrik Zero Labs. The report found data breaches were almost 50% more common in Australia than the global average.

Rubrik commissioned Wakefield Research to survey 1,625 IT and security decision makers at companies of 500 or more employees in January 2024.

Respondents were from the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Japan, Australia, Singapore, and India. None of these organisations are existing Rubrik clients.

The research found 82% of local organisations experienced a cyberattack in 2023. Of these, data breaches were the most prevalent style of attack comprising 54% of incidents, compared to the global average of 38%. Business Email Compromise attacks were the second most common attack method, witnessed in 45% of incidents.

Antoine Le Tard, Rubrik VP in Asia-Pacific and Japan, said the findings showed cyber resilience – rather than merely cyber prevention – was more important than ever.  

“Australia is a mature market and early adopter of cloud and many enterprise security technologies. As such, local organisations have been investing heavily in perimeter security for the past decade, yet Australia holds the unenviable title of leading the world in data breaches,” Le Tard said. “This shows it’s time to think beyond the perimeter and shift towards cyber resilience strategies.”

With many Australian organisations adopting hybrid environments to modernise their businesses, attacks were witnessed across all aspects of their infrastructure. Cloud environments were the most targeted in Australia, with 75% of local respondents reporting malicious activity. 

SaaS recorded the second most malicious activity, reported by 60% of respondents, followed by on-premise infrastructure with 46%.

“Most data we see in a standard cloud instance is object storage – so it has far lower security coverage than other areas – yet more than a quarter of object storage data is sensitive data, such as protected health information (PHI) and personally identifiable information (PII),” said Le Tard.

While data breaches were the most common attack type experienced in Australia, ransomware accounted for more than a third (36%) of local cyber incidents. 

In these cases, 97% of enterprises reported paying a ransom to recover data or stop an attack. In 70% of cases, a ransom was paid following an encryption event and in 54% it was paid due to extortion threats.

“The high percentage of businesses paying a ransom following an encryption event suggests many Australian organisations are placing too much faith in perimeter defences, “said Le Tard. “They simply aren’t prepared to recover their own data following a successful attack.”