Cyber Insights

Rising Cybercrime in Australia puts Small Business Owners on High Alert

Written by Dan Radak

Cybercrime – An Introduction

Cybercrime continues to be a force to be reckoned with. You may be thinking that the only kind of cybercrime you need to be concerned with is hackers getting their hands on your financial information. We wish it were that simple. There is a lot more  to consider beyond just financial information. Cybercrime is an evolving area, with new dangers emerging.

When you read and hear about the kinds of cybercrimes that plague the web, you might get so scared that you’re tempted to stop using the internet entirely. Now, that is going too far.

Instead, it’s  a good idea to be armed with education, so you can recognise cybercrime when you see it.

Education is the first step in helping protect your data and yourself.

Taking the necessary precautions and knowing what to do (like contacting someone who can deal with it) when you observe others s engaging in criminal acts online is also very important.

You may want to learn more about being able to prevent cybercrime, except prevention is not always possible. However, you can take precautions that will help you stay protected against it.

The term cybercrime refers to all types of crime that are done online.

Cybercriminals usually give shape to their evil designs by committing crimes and  making computer networks and devices their target.

Cybercrimes can range from security breaches to identity theft. Some common forms of cybercrime include cyber-stalking, revenge porn, bullying, sexual exploitation of children, and harassment. Nowadays, even terrorists are beginning to collaborate on the web, moving terrorist crimes and activities into cyberspace.

Rising Cybercrime in Australia

Cybercrime continues to rise.

In 2017, 6 million Australians became the victim of cybercriminals, which is a 13% rise from the year before. One question  often raised in such a scenario is why do these figures continue to increase? Mark Gorrie, Territory Manager working for the online security company Norton, says that a lot of people think that they are low risk, yet they engage in commonly found high-risk behaviour such as using the same password on many accounts and sharing their passwords with other people. In fact,44% of Australians are known to have shared their password with others.

Cybercrime Statistics about Australia

As far as a small business is concerned, just the thought of experiencing a cyber-attack can be daunting. Some small businesses would also be aware of the risks that are associated with being at the receiving end of a cybercrime.

While you may be aware of some top-line statistics around Australia’s cybercrime landscape, you may not have all the facts.

Here are some surprising statistics that showcase  how small to medium businesses are approaching cybersecurity.

  • 516,380 – This is the number of small businesses  from Australia that were a victim of cybercrimes.
  • 63 – This is the number of data breaches that were reported to the Office of the Information Commissioner during the first six weeks of mandatory reporting of data breaches.
  • $4,677 – This is the average amount of money that small businesses will need to pay to get their data back from ransomware.
  • Twenty-five hours or more – This is the amount of downtime that 1 in 4 businesses suffer once a cyber-attack has hit it.
  • $1.9 million – This is the average cost that a medium size business bears when hit by a cyber-attack.
  • One third – This is the number of small businesses who say that they back up their system data continuously. 
  • One – This is the number of employees that hackers will have to dupe to get their hands-on data that is crucial for your business.

Encryption Laws

Australia recently passed a controversial set of laws that are designed to force companies to allow security agencies and police access to their encrypted messages.

The government has taken a stand that the laws are necessary for combating cyber crime and terrorism. The critics, however, have stated wide-ranging problems, including that the regulations will end up compromising the privacy and overall security of the users.

The police can also arrest companies who did not comply with the law and prosecute them..

Lacking HTTPS in Australian sites

The adoption of HTTPS (which involves implementing a certificate from a Certificate Authority) has been very slow in Australia.

Australian businesses are struggling with modern data protection and piracy laws. A lot of them still do not fully appreciate (or maybe they have chosen to ignore) how the General Data Protection Regulation may impact them. Particularly, as it has been quite a while since the mandatory breach disclosure law came into effect.

Still, many businesses in Australia have not done much to ensure they are compliant  with this Privacy act or the Notifiable Data Breach Scheme.

To demonstrate the impact of this ignorance, take a look at some fast facts, from the Australian Financial Review’s list of the 100 fastest growing companies in 2017:

  • 1/3rd (32%) of the fastest growing companies in Australia do not have secure websites
  • Close to half  (44%) of companies aren’t compliant with  privacy laws in Australia.

Small businesses need to consider the benefits of HTTPS, even though it can be a time consuming task. While the rewards from taking this crucial step could save your business from being another statistic in Australia’s growing cybercrime problem.

“The opinions expressed by BizWitty Contributors are their own, not those of BizCover and should not be relied upon in place of appropriate professional advice. Please read our full disclaimer."

About the author


Dan Radak

Dan Radak is a web hosting security professional with ten years of experience. He is currently working with a number of companies in the field of online security, closely collaborating with a couple of e-commerce companies.