Ransomware Attacks in Australia

31 January 2022Written by Emma Woodward
Ransomware attacks in Australia are causing increasing concern, with a rise in incidents despite a decline in reported data breaches. Australian businesses are in need of skilled DevOps engineers proficient in cloud computing and cybersecurity.

There’s growing concern that the number of ransomware attacks in Australia may be on the rise, despite a fall in the overall number of data breaches that have been officially reported. Reports from last year indicate that ransomware is making up a larger percentage of all data breaches, and that the actual figure may be higher than reported, with many data breaches flying under the radar.

The Problem with Ransomware Attacks in Australia

According to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s (OAIC’s) most recent Notifiable Data Breaches Report, ransomware incidents were up 24 per cent on the previous reporting period.

The Australian Computer Society (ACS) believes that Australia is particularly vulnerable to ransomware groups, and that the problem could be far more widespread than the reported figures suggest.

Investigations conducted by the ACS suggest that many businesses are either unaware of the data breaches that occur within their own companies, or that they are reluctant to report the breaches because they have chosen to dismiss official advice and to pay the ransom demanded for the safe return of their sensitive data.

Another factor contributing to the potential growth in ransomware attacks is the shift in tactics amongst ransomware groups who will try more nuanced approaches, such as paying employees to infect their own organisation’s systems. This reportedly happened with the recent spate of LockBit 2.0 ransomware incidents within Australia.

Cloud Computing Provides Solutions and Risks

Australian businesses continue to move more of their computing systems and data storage into the cloud. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) predicts that adoption of cloud technologies will continue to grow, as more and more businesses see the benefits.

Storing data off-site allows companies to have a backup in place, should ransomware be used to lock them out of their own systems. However, that data must be stored securely. The OAIC has detailed instructions for organisations considering the security risks of cloud computing.

With many businesses facing both a lack of skilled IT workers within their ranks, and also facing the pressure of increasing ransomware attacks, it’s little wonder that there’s growing demand for DevOps engineers who are well-versed in cloud computing and cyber security.

Australian Businesses Need to Fill Their Skills Gaps 

Our own industry consultation survey found that DevOps is the number one skills gap of IT businesses, while a recent report from recruitment agency Hays listed cloud engineers, cloud architects, and security governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) experts as being amongst the top five skills required of digital technology and information technology professionals. Hays further stated that the skills shortage was leading to a “war for talent” as organisations struggle to meet their cyber security needs whilst undergoing digital transformations.

DevOps engineers are being well rewarded for their in-demand skills at the moment, with data collated by SEEK suggesting that the profession will see 30 per cent job growth over the next five years. Current DevOps engineers also reported high salaries, and high job satisfaction, which stands in contrast to the many workers in other fields expressing job dissatisfaction, and planning to make a job change within the next year.

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