Australia has a higher rate of computer-related crime than the US, according to the latest security survey conducted by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, AusCERT and the NSW Police. What's more, legitimate companies are "losing the battle" against perpetrators of computer crimes.
It is the third time the survey has been conducted in Australia since 1997. The volume of computer crime and security incidents in Australia has grown rapidly, consistent with global trends. Of the top 500 Australian private and public sector organisations surveyed, 67 per cent of respondents suffered a security incident in 2002, twice the level of 1999 and higher than the US. Around 35 per cent of respondents experienced six or more security breaches.
The survey also found that external attacks surpassed internal attacks for the first time -- 89 per cent of respondents that had a computer security incident were attacked externally compared with the 65 per cent that reported internal attacks.
"The [completely] safe system does not exist," said Steve Wood, president of Nortel Networks Australia and New Zealand, before introducing Dean Kingsley, lead partner of Deloitte Touch Tohmatsu's Secure e-Business consulting practice. Kingsley launched the findings of Deloitte's 2002 Australian Computer Crime and Security Survey at Sydney's historic Hyde Park Barracks, on the site of one of the first courtrooms in Australia.
The overall findings come as no surprise to many working in the security field with company attitudes and security budgets at odds with the seriousness of the risks presented by computer crime, including loss of data and intellectual property, wasted time, financial loss and diminished corporate reputation.
Kingsley said that while the number of companies willing to report a security breach to law enforcement authorities has more than doubled to 31 per cent, most attacks still go unreported. The lack of reporting of these incidents is indicative of a corporate attitude that has no faith in the ability of authorities to apprehend perpetrators.