by Byron Connolly

IT security concerns reach new high

Jun 21, 2017
Business ContinuityComplianceData Center

The Australian public’s concern about security issues is the highest it has been in the last 10 years, according to research.

Australia recorded the second largest increase in the 2017 Unisys Security Index with identity and bank card fraud the top two areas of concern for 58 and 55 per cent of citizens respectively.

The global index measures citizens’ concerns about a nation’s sense of security. It calculates a score out of 300, covering attitudes to national, personal, financial, and internet security. The index for Australia – based on the polling of 1,002 adults – is 157 out of 300, up from 106 recorded in the 2014 survey and the highest since 2006.

“While the emerging market of the Philippines, Mexico, Malaysia, Brazil, and Argentina recorded the highest index scores, the biggest increases are in mature markets of the Netherlands, Australia, US, and the UK,” said John Kendall, director of border and national security programs at Unisys.

“Even developed countries are starting to feel vulnerable, especially as we move to an increasingly connected global digital economy. The recent global impact of WannaCry ransomware attack (which occurred after this survey), made this abundantly clear. Consumer trust is very fragile,” Kendall said.

Viruses, hacking and national security recorded the biggest jumps in the poll. More than half of Australians are concerned about computer and internet security in relation to viruses, unsolicited emails or hacking; the same number are also concerned about Australia’s national security in relation to war and terrorism.

Kendall said identity is fundamental in addressing each of these issues.

“Anchoring our identity with secure multi-factor authentication (including biometrics) provides a strong deterrent to unauthorised people accessing our personal information, our finances and the IT systems we depend upon. Similarly, biometrics-anchored identification both expedites and secures processes such as international border clearance,” he said.

People in New South Wales and Queensland recorded the highest levels of overall concern (index of 163 and 160 respectively), with the Northern Territory the lowest (index of 136).

IBM announced today research that found organisations in Australia, on average, are taking more than 175 days to detect a data breach. This is despite the fact that from February 2018, the Data Privacy Act will require organisations to report data breaches within 30 days to the Privacy Commissioner and their customers.

Big Blue’s 2017 Ponemon Cost of Data Breach found that the cost of a data breach for Australian organisations has fallen by 5 per cent year-on-year to A$2.51 million, down from A$2.64 million.

The average cost per stolen record for Australian organisations was A$139, a 2.1 per cent decrease. Lost business costs (turnover of customers, increased acquisition activities, reputation losses and diminished goodwill) decreased from A$0.84 million to A$0.79 million this year.

Costs decreased due to a reduction in the number of stolen or lost records, and improvements in organisations’ ability to retain customers following a data breach, and an drop in ‘abnormal churn’ (the greater than expected loss of customers).