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Australia crowned most hacked nation in the world

Australia has earned itself the title of most frequently hacked nation in the world this quarter, according to new findings from VPN provider Surfshark.

user icon Daniel Croft
Thu, 22 Dec 2022
Australia crowned most hacked nation in the world
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The VPN service company found that in Q4 2022, Australia had the highest data breach rate in the world, with 7,387 user accounts per 100,000 being hacked. For context, Russia was second at 2,568 per 100,000.

“Globally, data breaches have gone down by 70.8 per cent from October to November,” said Agneska Sablovskaja, Surfshark lead researcher.

“In Australia, however, data breaches have surged by 1550 per cent — from 107,659 in October to 1,776,065 in November.”

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This number rate is up from the 489 per cent increase recorded last quarter. An average of 22 accounts were breached every minute this quarter, up from two last quarter.

Australia’s outstandingly high cyber security breach numbers come largely as a result to the recent wave of major cyber breaches such as with Optus and Medibank.

The Medibank breach alone revealed the data of just under 1.8 million email accounts, making it the second largest Australian data breach, only beaten out by the 2020 Wattpad breach that saw 2.45 million accounts compromised.

Despite the recent increase, Australia still hasn’t quite earned itself data breach gold. With 125.8 million accounts hacked since 2004, the country is only 16th internationally.

The US has suffered the greatest number of account breaches ever, with 9.73 billion.

“If large data breaches keep happening in Australia, [it] may not be far behind these countries,” added Sablovskaja.

To prevent breaches from repeating and increasing further in frequency, the Australian government has passed legislation to increase the penalty for companies who fail to properly secure their data.

The fine for serious or repeated breaches has been increased from $2.2 million to the most of:

  • $50 million;
  • 30 per cent of adjusted turnover for the period;
  • three times the financial gain from the misuse of data in the case of outstandingly shocking breaches.

In addition, Australian Minister for Cyber Security Clare O’Neil has established a 100-strong task force that aims to “hack the hackers” before they hit, and to make Australia a hostile environment for cyber criminals.

Daniel Croft

Daniel Croft

Born in the heart of Western Sydney, Daniel Croft is a passionate journalist with an understanding for and experience writing in the technology space. Having studied at Macquarie University, he joined Momentum Media in 2022, writing across a number of publications including Australian Aviation, Cyber Security Connect and Defence Connect. Outside of writing, Daniel has a keen interest in music, and spends his time playing in bands around Sydney.

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