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Thursday, 09 July 2020 12:16

Australian organisations ‘plagued’ by cybercriminal attacks Featured

By

Australian organisations continued to be plagued by ransomware and malware attacks by cybercriminals, according to global cybersecurity firm Sophos.

According to Sophos, three quarters (74%) of Australian organisations experienced a public cloud security incident in the last year – including ransomware and other malware (73%), exposed data (30%), compromised accounts (28%), and cryptojacking (25%).

According to the State of Cloud Security 2020 from Sophos, European organisations suffered the lowest percentage of security incidents in the cloud, “an indicator that compliance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) guidelines are helping to protect organisations” from being compromised.

“India, on the other hand, fared the worst, with 93% of organisations being hit by an attack in the last year,” Sophos said.

Sophos says that in Australia “accidental exposure” continues to plague organisations, with misconfigurations exploited in 69% of reported attacks, and misconfigurations driving the majority of incidents which are “all too common” given cloud management complexities, as detailed in the SophosLabs 2020 Threat Report.

Additionally, 29% of Australian organisations reported that cybercriminals gained access through stolen cloud provider account credentials, Sophos reported, while commenting that despite this, only a quarter of organisations say managing access to cloud accounts is a top area of concern.

Data from Sophos Cloud Optix, a cloud security posture management tool, further reveals that 91% of accounts globally have over-privileged identity and access management roles, and 98% have multi-factor authentication disabled on their cloud provider accounts.

Sophos also reports that nearly all global respondents (96%) admit to concern about their current level of cloud security, “an encouraging sign that it’s top of mind and important”.

“For Australians, 98% of respondents reported that they’re concerned about the current level of cloud security. Appropriately, ‘data leaks’ top the list of security concerns for nearly half of Aussie respondents (43%); identifying and responding to security incidents is second (34%).

“Notwithstanding this silver lining, only one in four Australian respondents (24%) view lack of staff expertise as a top concern,” Sophos said.

“Ransomware, not surprisingly, is one of the most widely reported cybercrimes in the public cloud,” said Chester Wisniewski, principal research scientist, Sophos.

“The most successful ransomware attacks ​​include data in the public cloud, according to the State of Ransomware 2020 report, and attackers are shifting their methods to target cloud environments that cripple necessary infrastructure and increase the likelihood of payment.

“The recent increase in remote working provides extra motivation to ​disable cloud infrastructure that is being relied on more than ever, so it’s worrisome that many organisations still don’t understand their responsibility in securing cloud data and workloads.

“Cloud security is a shared responsibility, and organisations need to carefully manage and monitor cloud environments in order to stay one step ahead of determined attackers,” Wisniewski cautioned.

The State of Cloud Security 2020 report highlights findings of an independent survey conducted by Vanson Bourne among more than 3,500 IT managers across 26 countries in Asia Pacific, Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, and Africa that currently host data and workloads in the public cloud.


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Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. 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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