Security Market Segment LS
Monday, 13 May 2019 11:36

Phishing biggest security threat facing Australian businesses: report Featured

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Phishing is seen by more than nearly half (44%) of Australian businesses as the biggest security threats they face, with ransomware, password and business email compromise continuing to beset organisations, according to a newly published survey.

And, according to the survey, commissioned by security intelligence firm LogRhythm, Australian chief information security officers continue to struggle to combat a rising climate of cybersecurity compromise, often taking weeks to detect and deal with security breaches.

The survey — conducted between February and April this year — found that more than half (55%) of respondents were able to detect their last security incident within hours, while 16% said it had taken them up to a week to detect their last security incident – and 7% had taken even longer.

“These delays really do raise serious concerns for Australian businesses, which since the introduction of the Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB) scheme, have been legally obliged to detect and report on breaches as rapidly as possible,” said Joanne Wong, marketing director Asia Pacific and Japan, LogRhythm.

“One might well conclude that if businesses cannot detect and evaluate a data breach, the consumer protections put in place by the NDB scheme offer scant chance of remediating breach damage.”

According to LogRhythm, the broad spectrum of responses to the survey confirmed that security executives were facing a” steady barrage of attacks” that target access credentials, weaknesses in devices, and potential weaknesses in the extended connectivity chains that cloud computing and managed service provision have created.

When asked how they would meet the threats they face in 2019, respondents said that more advanced email and Web security gateways, AI-based endpoint security systems, tighter control over user access rights, SIEM systems, application whitelisting, tools for secure coding, and offline back-ups were some of the critical tools being evaluated for improving their cyber posture.

“Ultimately, one of the greatest challenges IT teams face today is protecting their organisations from advanced and potentially costly attacks while operating with a limited budget and even fewer resources,” said Wong.

“This is certainly not an easy task, but with the proper approach, it’s also not impossible to protect your organisation’s data and critical systems without impacting the agility of the business or increasing IT costs.”

The survey also found that 52% of respondents were streamlining their security technologies to reduce the complexity of their environments for their people.

Just under half (48%) of these organisations are now turning to automation to assist employees transition away from security monitoring to focus on value adding tasks, the survey revealed.

In addition, other respondents said they were focused on implementing managed services, careful application of software updates, security awareness programs, incident response plans, and extensive training and upskilling of their people to support their employees.

According to LogRhythm, Australian companies still vary in maturity when it comes to adopting automation.

Half the respondents said they had applied automated incident detection and response (IDR) to less than half of their infrastructure, while 16% said they had successfully rolled out automated incident detection and response capabilities across their entire infrastructure.

“This suggests there is still a long way for Australian businesses to go when it comes to deploying the cybersecurity scalability to match the growing demands of digital transformation,” LogRhythm noted.

When asked about budgets, 44% of respondents said their security budgets would increase by 5% or more in 2019 – although an almost equal percentage (46%) said their budget would stay the same.

LogRhythm says the survey found that security executives are facing a “steady onslaught of risks” in 2019 from malware and zero-day threats, identity theft, business email compromise, data loss, poor patching, credential theft, and data exfiltration.

In addition, there was a growing risk of nation state-sponsored attacks; web site hacks leading to theft of customer information; man-in-the-middle WiFi attacks; cryptojacking; cloud security breaches; malicious mobile apps; insecure third parties; and Internet of Things devices.

“This is certainly not an easy task, but with the proper approach, it’s also not impossible to protect your organisation’s data and critical systems without impacting the agility of the business or increasing IT costs,” Wong said.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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