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Cyber attacks on education down 26%

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Cyber attacks on Australia’s education sector have dropped to 18% (down 26% from 2017) which saw the sector leave the top spot of most targeted. That’s good news and has much to do with the sector’s high ‘cybersecurity maturity’ rating.

Cyber threats have been a feature for as long as there has been an internet and preparedness for bug attacks can be measured according to a cybersecurity maturity value.

Globally, the average cybersecurity maturity rating languishes at a worrying 1.45 out of 5 – a score determined by an organisation’s holistic approach to cybersecurity from a process, metrics and strategic perspective. This comes during a time when security vulnerabilities have also surged to a record high (up 12.5% from 2017).

Current cybermaturity (1.92) in education is higher than in other areas, which leaves it better placed to deal with today’s advanced threats.

Australia (1.64) remains consistently above the global average benchmark of 1.45 across all measured capabilities, and is second only to MEA (1.77) in overall cybersecurity preparedness.

With a rating of 2.13, Australia’s financial sector boasts the second-highest maturity rating of any region, bettered only by MEA (2.21). This rating far exceeds the global average benchmark of 1.71. This leaves the sector better prepared to tackle the increased focus from cybercriminals. In 2018, attacks against the Australian financial sector doubled to 26% (up 13% from 2017) making it the most targeted sector.

The government sector in Australia is currently the most-prepared region to defend against attacks - and it’s the most ambitious, with a desired future cybersecurity state of almost 4/5. Australia’s government sector current maturity rating (2.92) is well above the global rating (1.45) and all other regions, primarily due to the government sector having been subjected to high attack volumes in previous years. In 2018, the government sector accounted for 21% of all attacks (up 13% from 2017).

Scouring trillions of logs and billions of attacks, the report also revealed the most common attack types, with brute-force (26%) and service-specific attacks (25%) responsible for more than half of activity detected. A third (30%) of all attacks targeted applications comprising application-specific (17%) and web-application (13%) attacks.

John Karabin, director of cybersecurity, Dimension Data Australia, said: “When compared to other regions, Australian organisations should be commended for doubling down on improving their security posture.

“The introduction of new compliance regulations such as the Notifiable Data Breaches scheme, has made organisations more accountable for their security practices and has contributed to these relatively positive results. Today, the ever-evolving threat landscape, and increasing compliance requirements and security risks are driving greater levels of cybersecurity innovation."

In Australia, 38% of attacks sourced from within the region. United States was the second largest attack source accounting for 24% of attacks.

Globally, cryptojacking represents a significant amount of hostile activity, at times accounting for more detections than all other malware combined, hitting the technology and education sectors hardest.

Credential theft is up also up around the world as attackers target cloud credentials, with tech companies, telcos, and business and professional services significantly impacted by this.

From the Dimension Data, Executive Guide to NTT Security’s 2019 Global Threat Intelligence Report.

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