Over 5000 Australian Companies To Report Serious Data Breaches By 2021


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Recent data released by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) reveals that in 2018 it received 812 notifications as part of the notifiable data breach scheme which came into affect in February 2018. That means that the OAIC received data breach notifications from 73 Australian companies per month.

The OAIC also provides quarterly analytics on the nature of the reported breaches to assist with raising awareness that cyber risks are a real threat to Australian companies. Part of this analysis is to review the growth rates around data breach reporting.

In October to December of 2018, the privacy watchdog reported 262 breach notifications. This was a 7% rise in the number of companies reporting from the previous quarter.

Gridware’s Chief Executive Officer and incident response expert, Mr Ahmed Khanji said “Should the 7% growth rate continue in following quarters, the OAIC would expect to see the number of data breaches reported rise at least 200% of the current numbers in just 3 years.”

This means that by 2021, the privacy watchdog would expect to see a whopping 2138 reported data breaches in just that calendar year.

“If you take into account all the data breach notifications since the introduction of legislation in 2018, we are expecting to see a staggering 5823 Australian companies report breaches by the end of 2021.” said Mr Khanji.

Figure 1. The number of expected data breach notifications over the next three years at a continued 7% growth.

“These numbers also do not account for multiple breaches that occur for the same company.” he continued. “In most of the investigations we’ve undertaken, threat actors were within the company network for weeks, and sometimes months, before the breach was even identified.”

According to the Australian Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner, Angelene Falk, “the first anniversary of the scheme is an opportunity for regulated entities to reflect on the causes of breaches that put personal data at risk.”

“We expect organisations and agencies to act on the risks highlighted by these reports – whether or not they were directly affected – and take steps to prevent similar breach of Australians’ personal data”, said Ms Falk.

Understanding your specific risks and how your organisation will cope with a data breach is one of the best exercises your management team can do to protect against cyber threats.

*OAIC data collected over 11 months.

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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