The Australian government's latest Notifiable Data Breaches report found that the total number of breaches in the second half of 2022 (H2 2022) rose by 26% from the same period in the previous year.
Moreover, 33 of the 40 breaches that affected more than 5,000 Australians resulted from cyber security incidents.
Australian Information Commissioner and Privacy Commissioner Angelene Falk said cyber security incidents can significantly impact individuals.
“We saw a significant increase in data breaches that impacted a larger number of Australians in the second half of 2022,” she said. “Cyber security incidents continue to have a significant impact on the community and were the cause of the majority of large-scale breaches.”
Commissioner Falk called on organisations across Australia to be alert to cyber risks as large-scale compromises of personal information may lead to further attacks.
“Organisations should take appropriate and proactive steps to protect against and respond to a range of cyber threats. This starts with collecting the minimum amount of personal information required and deleting it when it is no longer needed,” she said.
“As personal information becomes increasingly available to malicious actors through breaches, the likelihood of other attacks – such as targeted social engineering, impersonation fraud, and scams – can increase,” she added. “Organisations need to be on the front foot and have robust controls, such as fraud detection processes, in place to minimise the risk of further harm to individuals.”
The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner has expectations of best practice regarding data breach preparation and response to protect individuals from harm.
“In response to a breach, organisations need to provide information to individuals that is timely and accurate,” Falk said. “As well as setting out the kinds of information breached, the notification must include recommendations about clear steps people should take in response.”
Falk added that the Privacy Legislation Amendment (Enforcement and Other Measures) Act 2022 has been helpful against cyber risks because of the following:
“While we will continue to work with organisations to facilitate voluntary compliance, we will use these regulatory powers where required to ensure compliance with the Notifiable Data Breaches scheme,” Falk said.
The latest Gallagher Cyber Insight Series Webinar's predictions for Australian businesses in 2023 are the following:
Gallagher said: “In the event of a cyberattack, a robust cyber insurance policy provides access to experts not only in negotiation but also forensic investigation, remediation measures, as well as cover for the legal and reputational costs involved.”