Australian employees are the weakest link in the nation’s fight against cyber attacks

People holding Security sign

Australian employees’ inappropriate IT usage has led to Kaspersky naming them the weakest link in the country’s fight against cyber attacks.

The report found that almost half of all security incidents in 2019 occurred as a result of “inappropriate usage”, with 42.9% of incidents being caused by employees inappropriately sharing data across mobile devices.

The report also found that lost employee devices accounted for 42% of security incidents in small- and medium-sized businesses and 47% of incidents in larger enterprises. Despite the obviousness of such risks, a meagre 8.5% of Australian respondents ranked mobile security as their key security issue.

The survey, which included approximately 5,000 global businesses - 250 of them being Australian - also found the more complex an IT system is, the more likely cybercriminals are to exploit it.

By taking advantage of weaknesses in emerging technologies, attackers are better able to tailor their attacks and be successful in their nefarious endeavors.

“Many businesses have now been forced to quickly adapt to a home workforce during COVID-19,” shared Kaspersky A/NZ senior security researcher Noushin Shabab.

“With an increased dependency on mobile devices, remote working using cloud applications and data being used from more locations, the risk of cyberattacks in 2020 is set to skyrocket if businesses don’t quickly close gaps in their security and focus on the way they’re using cloud services,” continued Shabab.

The survey also found that when it comes to IT budgets, about two-thirds of Australian businesses are expected to increase their budgets over the next three years. However, roughly 28% of Australian organizations currently allocate less than 10% of their IT budget to security, while around 40% of businesses allocate 10-25% to security.


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“Our findings show that Australian businesses vastly underfund their security measures compared to global counterparts with 11.7% of businesses globally allocating more than half their IT budget on security,” explained Shabab.

With 26.4% of Australian small businesses reporting AU$3,000-AU$15,000 in cyber attack-related loses in 2018 and 2019, this perpetual underfunding illustrates a growing discrepancy between budget allocation to cybersecurity and the immense cost of potential data breaches.