What the ACSC cybercrime report means for your business

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What the ACSC cybercrime report means for your business

The numbers have been tallied and the final results are in – cybercrime is on the rise, and every business and individual should be concerned.

The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) have just released their Annual Cyber Threat Report for 2020-21, and the facts speak for themselves. Over 67,000 cybercrime reports have been made over the last year resulting in a 13% jump from the previous year. While 13% may not seem like a large number, that number is growing quickly, and it is something you should definitely be concerned about.

A cyber-attack now happens every 8 minutes on average, so it is only a matter of time before your number is up. The question remains, though – is your business prepared for the inevitable cyber-attack?

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Key Cyber Security Threats for 2020-21

The report found that while no sector of the Australian economy is completely protected from cyber threats, there are certain types of cybercrime which happen more frequently than others.

Pandemic Capitalisation

The pandemic has drastically changed our traditional ways of working and cyber threat actors have been capitalising on this change. When the pandemic hit, more of our lives and businesses went online, and this created a playground for malicious actors. Taking advantage of the current climate, attackers targeted individuals and businesses through spear phishing emails with a COVID-19 theme. The health sector became one of the largest hit industries as cybercriminals used sensitive data to incite victims to pay ransoms.


Ransomware has quickly become the ‘poster child’ of cyber threats over the last year with the ACSC reporting a 15% increase in these attacks. Ransomware is when a threat actor gains access to your critical data and holds it at ransom until money is paid for its safe return. There is no guarantee that your critical data will ever be retrieved, though, and an attack like this has the power to destroy more than just your company’s bank balance.

Fast Exploitation

Threat actors are crafty and can work at lightning speeds. Over the last year there has been a significant increase in the number of security vulnerabilities that have been publicly disclosed online, and these have quickly been exploited by malicious actors. Attackers knowing about a vulnerability can be detrimental enough, but when a proof of concept (PoC) code is released along with it, like with the PrintNightmare saga, you can be guaranteed that a cyber-attack is just around the corner.

Supply Chain Attacks

A supply chain attack is a great opportunity for threat actors to infiltrate a network of companies because all businesses have supply chains in some way. The idea here is to take advantage of a third-party software vendor with a weaker security posture in order to catch bigger fish in their supply chain network.

The attacker installs malware into the software that is distributed to, and used by, others in the supply chain network. Once this malicious software is installed and activated, the attacker has complete access to your IT environment and critical data.

Business Email Compromise (BEC)

BEC attacks are social engineering at its best. In a BEC attack, a threat actor steals the personal information, and therefore identity, of a CEO or other executive to make illegal transfers and defraud the company. In 2020-21, successful BEC attacks in Australia resulted in an average loss of $50,600 per event.

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Be prepared. Be vigilant. Stay protected.

Along with the list of key cyber security threats for 2020-21, the ACSC has updated the Essential Eight Maturity Model (E8), a list of mitigation strategies designed to help Australian businesses stay secure online. Comprehensive security, though, is more than just complying with a few government strategies, and there is always more that you can do to ensure you and your business are doing your part to disrupt cybercrime.

With this in mind, the ACSC is also encouraging the implementation of 6 further actions.

Report all cybercrime and cyber security incidents

This is the online version of “if you see something, say something”. So the ACSC can keep abreast of the cyber threat landscape, it’s important that they get the information directly from those on the ground. If your business has been the target of a cyber security threat – successful or not – the ACSC wants to know about it.

Partner with the ACSC

Your business can stay up to date with the cyber threat situation in Australia by becoming an ACSC partner. By partnering with the ACSC, you’ll be privy to insights, advisories, and advice that can keep your business safe.

Understand your networks

Knowledge is power and when it comes to your networks, you need to know everything. Cyber security strategies will only work if they cover ALL your critical data and infrastructure. It’s essential to know exactly where your critical data and infrastructure is located, so you can implement the appropriate security measures.

Patch. Update. Mitigate.

Because threat actors can work so quickly, you need to patch your system’s known vulnerabilities within 48 hours – but the sooner the better. All software updates should also be completed within 2 weeks of the release date to ensure vectors are kept to a minimum. You should also have a resilient cyber incident detection and response plan to mitigate further risks should patches and updates not be possible. By employing a multilayered security approach, you have more chances of keeping your critical data and business secure.

Know your supply chain risk

As supply chain attacks are on the rise, it’s recommended that you calculate the risk involved with yours. The ACSC provides comprehensive advice to mitigate supply chain risk, but first, you need to know where your risk is.

Prepare. Plan. Test.

A cyber-attack is no longer a matter of if but when, so no matter the size of your business, you need to prepare for an attack. A key part of preparation is knowing what to do in the event of an attack, so having plans that guide your employees on how to respond to an incident (incident response plan), how to maintain business continuity (business continuity plan), and how to recover from the incident or any data loss (disaster recovery plan) are essential.

Become more secure with an MSP

The ACSC has provided some great advice and strategies to help keep Australian businesses secure online, but it can make your head swim if you don’t have the time or in-house expertise to follow and execute their advice. Not to worry, though, because we live in a gig economy, so you can outsource all of this to a group of trained professionals – managed service providers (MSP).

A managed service provider comes with the skills, experience, and knowledge to help you seamlessly implement the technology, strategies, and best practices your business needs to maintain compliance and bolster your organisation’s security posture.

RODIN are the best MSPs in the business, so contact them today to see how they can help protect your business from becoming another cybercrime statistic.

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