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Australian Information Security Association issues blunt warning as National Cyber Security Awareness Week begins

Australian Information Security Association (AISA) has today, on the first day of National Cyber Security Awareness Week, taken the opportunity to flag research from its members, releasing an advisory note to the community at large.

In his recently appointed role as Chair of AISA’s Advocacy Board, IBRS’ Analyst James Turner said it’s time Australia took cyber security seriously, quoting research from the organisation that shows 98 per cent of surveyed members predict security threats will increase and 90 per cent believe available security measures are not being reliably deployed.

“A major source of security breaches come as a result of people not being appropriately prepared,” explained Turner. “AISA has nearly 2000 members around Australia. As Information Security professionals in Australia, AISA members are well placed and well aware of the dangers that cyber threats present to the Australian economy and its citizens. If the IT security professionals from across the industry and governance see a problem, it’s fair to say it exists.”

Turner pointed out Distribute.IT as an unfortunate example of what happens when an organisation's security is not able to fend off an attacker.

“Distribute.IT was subjected to a 30 minute attack via the Internet by an unknown assailant,” said Turner. “During the two weeks of recovery effort after the attack, Distribute.IT went from being a company with 10 per cent market share of the domain registry business in Australia, to liquidation.

“There are lots of motivations for cyber criminals. Some are just out to cause a general disruption, but where there is money to be made, there are people motivated to get it, legally, illegally, offline and more and more, online.”

Pointing to the rise in targeted attacks at SMBs and Ransomware, Turner said the community needs to take heed and this is why AISA is partnering with the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy to release Top Tips for Safer Computing. Turner said the advisory produced as a part of the Stay Smart Online initiative, should be seen as a simple but effective resource.

Top Tips for Safer Computing

Stay Smart Online encourages all Australians to remember these 10 simple tips to improve their online security:

1.     Install and update your security software and set it to scan regularly
2.     Turn on automatic updates on all your software, particularly your operating system and applications
3.     Use strong passwords and different passwords for different uses
4.     Stop and think before you click on links and attachments
5.     Take care when buying online - research the supplier and use a safe payment method
6.     Only download "apps" from reputable publishers and read all permission requests
7.     Regularly check your privacy settings on social networking sites
8.     Stop and think before you post any photos or financial information online
9.     Talk with your child about staying safe online, including on their smart phone or mobile device
10.  Report or talk to someone if you feel uncomfortable or threatened online - download the Government's Cybersafety Help Button

AISA branches in Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia and NSW are actively getting involved in sharing this advisory by organising branch meetings for members and guests to drop in to learn more about Stay Safe Online program and pick up information on the Top Tips to distribute in their community. Turner said it is a great opportunity for members of the public to talk to security experts in an open, informal environment about cyber security.

Alert Service

The Stay Smart Online Alert Service is a free service for Australian internet users to learn about recent online threats, scams and other risks, and advice on how to avoid any risks to their devices or computer networks.

Home and small business users are provided with easy to understand cyber security information and solutions to help protect their online safety and privacy. Users can subscribe at staysmartonline.gov.au and pick and choose the types of information they would like to receive

For more information on AISA’s partnership with Stay Smart Online and 2013 National Cyber Security Awareness Week, please contact:

Elaine Muir , Director Brand and Marketing, AISA


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