By 2020 the internet enabled economy could be worth as much as $139 billion to Australia — representing 7.3 per cent of GDP.
But what if that economy ground to a halt because companies were stalled by cyber-attacks? This isn’t science fiction as the devastating WannaCrypt ransomware attack demonstrated in May, when the malware brought hospitals, delivery businesses and government departments around the world to their knees.
Without robust and tested cyber incident response plans designed to help restore operations swiftly, any organisation that is attacked could be paralysed for days or weeks and their reputations permanently bruised.
A one-off single company cyber-attack could put a business out of action by stripping it of access to computers and the internet. Its customer access would be curtailed, its supply chains fractured, its staff without access to key information.
But the impact of more targeted attacks — say on power stations or communications networks — could be much broader with a ripple effect for all industries, across all sectors and all scales of operations.
The Australian Cyber Security Centre’s (ACSC) most recent cyber security survey — the first to examine security in both the public and private sectors — reveals that 90 per cent of respondents faced a successful or attempted cyber compromise during the 2015–16 financial year.