Combine and conquer cyber raiders

Data is as valuable as oil and it will take more than harsh financial penalties to defeat the “borderless raiders” attacking the communication, healthcare and financial sectors, according to Australian Catholic University cybersecurity expert Kamanashis Biswas.

Cyber attacks are expected to double in the coming years as the destructive impact of massive breaches affecting Optus and Medibank spreads.

Australia has announced more severe financial penalties for data breaches by agencies and private companies and assembled a 100-strong cybercrime operation to target hackers.

Peter Faber Business School lecturer Dr Biswas said more is needed to make a dent on the global hacking threat.

“The attacks we’re talking about are from borderless raiders,” he said. “One nation on its own can’t find and prosecute these groups so the solution must be driven by international cooperation.”

A fifth tranche of stolen Medibank data has been released, with the hackers demanding a $15 million ransom. Almost 10 million existing and former Medibank policy holders and staff have been affected by the breach by a ransomware gang with Russian links.

Innovative cyber attacks are complicated and troublesome to prevent. In 2017 hackers acquired data from a US casino via an internet-connected fish tank.

To stay ahead of hackers demands cybersecurity training for all individuals and an internationally coordinated and cooperative approach from regulators and private companies.

“It’s a competitive marketplace for vendors,” said Dr Biswas whose research focus includes cryptography and blockchain technology. “Historically they are reluctant to share information with each other but there needs to be collaboration across government and industry to defeat hackers.”

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