Combating cybercrime a shared responsibility


Monday, 09 October, 2023

Combating cybercrime a shared responsibility

The global cost of cybercrime is on the rise — at an estimated $12 trillion each year — with increased calls for a more transparent and collective approach to address attacks.

While 99% of attempted cyber attacks are thwarted, the 1% that succeed wreak economic damage and significant reputational, legal and personal harms to those affected.

According to the Optus Chair of Cybersecurity and Data Science at the University of South Australia, Associate Professor Mamello Thinyane, it will take a combined effort to combat cybercrime, where individuals, companies and governments all share the responsibility.

“In the past, organisations have been unwilling to disclose their cyber attack experiences for fear of reputational damage and legal implications. However, it’s important we strengthen our collective intelligence and reduce the barriers for companies that have been victims of cyber attacks. By sharing their experiences and lessons learned, we can build trusted networks and become smarter together,” Thinyane said.

“At an individual level, we can do so much more to lower the risks of cybercrime. Basic ‘cyber hygiene’ should be instilled in everyone. This includes protecting our accounts with multi-factor authentication, strong passwords, password managers, and being super vigilant around potential phishing attacks and scams.”

As cyber threats become more sophisticated and lucrative, and artificial intelligence (AI) exposes the world to more security risks, the challenges are mounting.

AI is proving a double-edged sword — helping bad actors to disrupt systems but also allowing authorities to strengthen digital security.

“The genie is out of the bottle. All of us are increasingly using digital technologies and devices with sensors and processing ability, such as wearable computers and smart home systems. While this benefits our lives, it also makes us far more vulnerable to being hacked,” Thinyane said.

Ensuring that we only purchase safe and secure Internet of Things (IoT) devices, protecting them with strong passwords and multi-factor authentication, and keeping them regularly updated is part of basic cyber hygiene, Thinyane said, but consumers are often lax about digital security.

“Think twice before clicking on that suspicious link or forwarding fake social media posts. Cybercriminals are very clever at exploiting human vulnerabilities and 82% of data breaches are linked to human factors, so we need to be very, very cautious.

“Digital technologies are here to stay, but for societies to thrive, we need to make our systems and data more secure, and we need to collectively become cyber resilient,” Thinyane said.

Image credit: iStock.com/wildpixel

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