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Friday, 09 March 2018 09:53

Aust, NZ the sleepy backwater of cyber threats: claim

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Australia and New Zealand are relatively quiet places in terms of cyber threats when compared to the rest of the Asia-Pacific region, one of the few women in the field of cyber security claims.

Noushin Shabab, a security researcher with Kaspersky Lab in Melbourne, said that Indonesia, Vietnam, Taiwan and Malaysia faced bigger problems on the cyber front, adding that her observations were based on the last two years.

She said Australia and New Zealand had better defences, more people and invested more in security; this was why the problem of online security were less severe.

Shabab, who spoke to iTWire on the sidelines of the Kaspersky Security Analyst Summit in Cancun on Thursday, pointed out there were instances where Australian companies had been attacked but that was because they were part of an industry sector that was being targeted.

For example, in the case of one unnamed company in 2016-17, she said it was attacked because it was in the financial sector and many others in the same sector had been attacked in other countries.

noushin shababAs far as attacks targeting Australia were concerned, she said in 2016, Kaspersky Lab had found a marketplace for compromised servers on the dark web and the highest rates were for Australian servers, with many Australian domains having been compromised. However, this was not limited to Australian servers.

Again, in 2016, in the case of the Dropping Elephant threat actor — malware that used two main infection vectors target foreign relations with China — Shabab said Australia was again one of the targets.

New Zealand, she said, was even quieter than Australia. In the event that anything did happen there requiring Kaspersky's intervention, the company used its remote forensic framework to investigate, using a local IT person to assist.

Asked whether she had seen any increased interest in data security in the run-up to the introduction of the Australian data breach law last month, Shabab said there was not much of a difference in the level of interest.

The writer is attending the Kaspersky Security Analyst Summit as a guest of the company.

Photo: courtesy Kaspersky Lab

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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