COVID-19 and the cybersecurity situation in Australia


As the current COVID-19 crisis continues to disrupt the lives of millions of Australians and change the way companies and organizations operate, the nation is faced with increased digital threats.

Across the world, threat actors are using the pandemic to profiteer from panic. In Australia, as in many nations, the threats are directed at individuals, companies, and national institutions alike.

In June last year, Prime Minister Scot Morrison revealed that “sophisticated state-based” cyber actors were leveling attacks at “all levels of government, industry, political organizations, education, health, essential service providers and operators of other critical infrastructure”.

In light of this revelation, the government announced the creation of 500 new jobs to bolster the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) and the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) cybersecurity capabilities. Putting cybersecurity at the fore is now more important than ever.

While the Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) Morrison was referring to are primarily the federal government’s responsibility, Australian business and individuals can both play their part in ensuring better cybersecurity nationwide.

How to Boost Cyber Security Amidst the COVID-19 Crisis

The best way for individuals and Australian businesses to boost their cybersecurity practices is to first recognize that anybody or any business can be a victim. From that starting point, it becomes easier to create a culture of cybersecurity and maintain practices and systems that mitigate the risk of attack.

Use Appropriate Digital Tools

A Barracuda Networks study indicated that 36% of organizations in Australia had experienced at least one data breach since shifting to a remote working model. With a workforce spread out, company networks and systems are no longer centralized, which can easily lead to an increased potential for attacks. Employee home networks may be compromised and, if employees are using their own devices, the risk factor is also increased.

One way for companies to secure data transmissions and shield their employees’ online activities is through VPN software. Individuals can also benefit from a VPN as these tools encrypt data in transmission and generate private browsing networks, boosting both privacy and security.

In addition to a VPN, the following technical tools are essential:

  • Antimalware
  • Antivirus
  • Firewall

Companies should also have:

  • Email scanner
  • DNS protection
  • Enterprise-level firewall
  • PKI services
  • Managed detection services
  • DDoS protection

Make Cyber Security Everyone’s Job

Part of creating a strong cybersecurity culture is ensuring that all employees know that security is everyone’s job. It’s easy to let this slip and have staff assume IT will take care of digital safety, but this is a troubling assumption. All it takes is one left-click and threat actors can use any member of a company (or family, for that matter) as an attack vector.

In a business context, education is key. Training is essential and should be conducted on a regular basis to ensure new staff is clued in and any changes to security practices are communicated. At home, make sure everyone understands the risk of opening links in emails and text messages.

Micky News

Finance, cryptocurrency and blockchain news - created by Australians, for the world.

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Micky News

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