The big business of security breaches – how the threat landscape is shifting

Every year the conversation about security breaches changes – not because they’re decreasing, quite the reverse unfortunately – but to highlight how the threat landscape is shifting.

Cybercrime is no longer a small economic player. It is big business globally and in Australia and one of the reasons the threat landscape is changing is that hackers want to stay ahead of the security breach game. They know their “livelihood” depends on it – and a lot of the time they’re succeeding at it.

A large company CEO recently commented that he believed cybercrime was becoming “the biggest threat” to every company in the world. And the figures back that up.

To illustrate the point, look at some stats. The British insurance company Lloyd’s estimated that cyber attacks cost businesses as much as around $400 billion a year, which includes direct damage plus post-attack disruption to the normal course of business. Forbes has recently estimated that cybercrime will cost about $2 trillion globally by 2019 thanks to the rapid digitisation of consumers’ lives and enterprise records will increase.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) says a significant portion of cybercrime goes undetected, particularly industrial espionage where access to confidential documents and data is difficult to spot. Those crimes would arguably move the needle on the cyber crime numbers much higher.

Part of the problem is that our desire for connectivity everywhere through the convenience of mobile devices has made us all far more vulnerable to security breaches. Whether it’s organised crime syndicates or individuals looking to profit from stealing peoples’ personal information – it’s a lucrative enterprise.

Another element to consider in how the threat landscape is shifting is we all know that so far it’s mostly been the big banks, retailers and government agencies which have made the headlines after they are hacked – but increasingly it’s the small to medium size businesses which are now targets with estimates that 20 per cent will experience a data breach.

The commercial landscape is also shifting and is far more exposed with Bitcoin and block chain now dominate in the agenda. As well,  Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) – an attempt to make an online service unavailable by overwhelming it with traffic from multiple sources – attacks now are so common in Australia that big companies regard them as part of the everyday landscape.

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