A breach will cost an Australian business $2.5m

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A breach will cost an Australian business $2.5m

Organised crime gangs are the biggest perpetrators of security breaches in Australia, while hacktivists and disgruntled employees factor in only a tiny fraction of crimes.

These were just some of the infosec stats discussed during a roundtable of business leaders yesterday, centering on the government's Cyber Security Review and hosted by Deloitte and Christian Porter, parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister.

Ninety-two percent of breaches are perpetrated by outsiders, of which 55 percent come from organised crime, followed by 21 percent by state-affiliated hackers and just 2 percent by activists and 1 percent by former employees.

Some 14 percent of breaches are perpetrated by insiders, although this is rising. There's an overlap between external and outside perpetrators, who sometimes collude.

According to a statement from Deloitte, "well-planned attacks" are often triggered by "apparent insiders" who are already lying in wait within the organisation.

Weak or stolen credentials are the No.1 cause of breaches, responsible for more than three quarters of incidents.

The average cost of a data breach to an Australian business is more than $2.5 million per year, and over the five years to 2014, the average breach involved more than 20,000 records.

Deloitte APAC and Australia cyber leader James Nunn-Price said: “One of the most important initiatives we discussed was ways to grow Australia’s cyber security workforce to meet the critical job needs.

“Our experience is that the niche skills are out there, it is more the complex matter of securing, coordinating and continuing to develop them, as the threat to Australia’s cyber security is growing in sophistication and severity.”

The government's Cyber Security Review is looking at how to make public and private sector systems more resilient to attack, how government and industry together can reduce the risk of online attacks, and how to be proactive in preventing attacks on government networks and infrastructure.

It aims to increase the country’s awareness of and reaction to cybercrime incidents, as well as to ensure government and local businesses use secure IT infrastructure.


  • The average cost of a data breach per Australian organisation is more than *$2.5 million per year, and rising
  • The average breach involved more than *20,000 records in Australia over the five years to 2014
  • There was also a 25 poercent increase in data loss between 2013 and 2014 globally
  • Most organisations are focussed on prevention as opposed to detection
  • Ninety two per cent of breaches are perpetrated by outsiders
  • These known external perpetrators come from organised crime (55 percent), state affiliated hackers (21 percent), activists (2 percent) and former employees (1 percent)
  • Only 14 percent*** of breaches are by insiders, but this is rising**
  • More than three quarters of the breach incidents are caused by weak or stolen credentials
  • With rogue hardware and malware also frequent causes of breach or service denial it is important for all employees, contractors and suppliers to be aware of how criminals are targeting them with their well-planned attacks, often triggered by ‘apparent insiders’ who are already lying in wait within the organisation.
  • Source: Deloitte

* Ponemon Institute Releases 2014 Cost of Data Breach: Global Analysis
**Source: 2014 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report with the US Secret Service, FBI, Deloitte, DHS and others                    
*** number overlap because some insiders and outsiders are in collusion

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