Battle lines drawn and they’re not traditional

11 October, 2017

Former head of ASIO and Australian Secret Intelligence Service David Irvine says the war of the 21st century will be fought in cyber space.

His comments come as the Australian Cyber Security Centre released its Threat Report 2017 this week, revealing a defence contractor had its system breached in November last year.

The report found there were 7283 cyber security incidents affecting major Australian businesses in 2016/17.

The centre also responded to 734 cyber incidents affecting private sector systems of national interest and critical infrastructure providers.

Irvine, who is now Chair of the Australian Cyber Security Research Centre based and Edith Cowan University, says the war crimes haven’t changed from years past but the means of carrying them out has.

“It’s still stealing money through fraud and other means … financial crime will facilitate until banks and individuals can develop proper protections,” he says.

“My view is the war of the 21st century will be fought in cyber space. The significant crimes of the 21st century are increasingly also going to be committed in cyber space.”

Irvine, who will be guest speaker at CCI’s Cyber Security Sundowner today, says cybercrime was estimated at $400b globally in 2015 but is set to rise to $2.1 trillion by 2019.

In a speech to the National Press club this week when releasing the Threat report, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cyber Security Dan Tehan said business for cybercriminals was booming.

“People are falling for online scams, email phishing, identity theft, credit card fraud, and ransomware at an alarming rate.

Yet these crimes continue to fly under the public radar,” he said.

Tehan said cyber security must become second nature to all Australians and warned that attacks were using more complex methods to target large and small businesses via increasingly personalised techniques.

“The ACSC has seen targeting of non-traditional victims, such as automotive, accommodation, and hospitality businesses increase by around 50 per cent,” he said.

He urged businesses to report attacks to ACSC.

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