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1 in 3 Australians hacked in the past year


New analysis from the Australian National University (ANU) has shown that one in three Australian adults, or around 6.4 million people, have been exposed to data breaches.

Findings from the survey show cyberattacks were one of the fastest growing types of crimes Australians now face.

Key points:

  • In the past year, 6.4 million Australian adults have been hacked
  • Data breaches are most likely to affect people aged 25 to 34
  • People are losing trust in the security of data storage, particularly in the telecommunications industry

6.4 million Australians were victims of cyberattacks this year

Almost 3,500 adults were surveyed as part of the ANUpoll survey series in October 2022 and 32.1% said they or some member of their household had suffered a data breach.

Data breaches are most likely to affect Australians between the ages of 25 and 34, with 41.5% of this cohort reporting being affected.

Following recent high-profile breaches such as Medibank and Optus, these findings are of particular significance.

“Roughly-one third of adult Australians, or around 6.4 million people, have been the victim of a breach in the last 12 months,” says Professor Biddle of the ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods.

“In comparison our survey found only 11.2 per cent of Australians had been the victim of serious crimes like burglary or assault in the last five years.”

“As our lives become more and more dominated by data, so too does our exposure to data related crime. This is a serious issue that needs serious attention.”

Declining trust that companies adequately secure customer data

Trust in key institutions relating to data privacy has also declined in the last two months, particularly in telecommunication companies. In addition, over the last 12 months there has been a large increase in the number of Australians who thought governments should intervene when it came to data protection.

“Breaches like the Optus breach clearly impact on trust in the whole system of data governance, and Australians are crying out for stronger regulation and better protection.” Professor Biddle said.

As trust in data security of Australian firms declines, organisations should consider regular Cyber Risk Audits to ensure they maintain visibility into their risks and otherwise meet their regulatory obligations.

Even start-ups with impending growth should consider assessing their cyber risks. Customers can have peace of mind knowing their data is secure if safeguards are in place early in the process.

You might also be interested in: Cyber Security Guide

Ahmed Khanji

Ahmed Khanji

Ahmed Khanji is the CEO of Gridware, a leading cybersecurity consultancy based in Sydney, Australia. An emerging thought leader in cybersecurity, Ahmed is an Adjunct Professor at Western Sydney University and regularly contributes to cybersecurity conversations in Australia. As well as his extensive background as a security advisor to large Australian Enterprises, he is a regular keynote speaker and guest lecturer on offensive cybersecurity topics and blockchain.


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