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Aussie businesses up cyber spending, call for cooperation against rising threat

Investment in cyber security by business leaders has seen a meteoric rise over the past year and shows no sign of slowing down. Now they are calling for companies to work together against the greater cyber threat.

user icon Daniel Croft
Thu, 05 Jan 2023
Aussie businesses up cyber spending, call for cooperation against rising threat
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According to a global survey by Fastly, 73 per cent of organisations are looking to increase the amount they spend on cyber security.

Following the major cyber attacks on Medibank and Optus that captured public attention, executives are on edge and are upping their efforts to protect business and customer assets.

The chief executive officers of both companies are urging other businesses to heed their example as a warning and have said that all companies need to ramp up their cyber defences.

Following the Optus attack, Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin said that she contacted the bosses of the big four banks as well as rival telcos TPG and Telstra before the attack went public, to prepare them for the threats that lay ahead.

“I told each one of them to text me who in their organisation was their cyber head, and put them in touch with our CISO, so they could get a bit of inside information as to what happened, and they could brace to protect customers as well,” said Rosmarin.

Doubling down on the importance of businesses rallying together, Rosmarin has since said that “Cyber warfare is an arms race, and we all must keep lifting our game as the cyber criminal industry expands and emboldens”.

Medibank CEO David Koczkar has also said that he will be sharing Medibank’s findings from their own major attack with other businesses to ensure that “Australian businesses and the broader community can be better placed to navigate any similar challenges in the future”.

While it hasn’t been without its own cyber struggles, Australia’s largest telco, Telstra, has been re-evaluating its cyber practices as well.

In an interview with the The Australian Financial Review, company CEO Vicki Brady said that Telstra was reviewing and reducing the time it held the data of drivers’ licence numbers for identity checks, while also running war game scenarios to see how it would respond in the event of a cyber attack.

“We do constant penetration testing of our environment, and after some of these incidents, we did resolve to do an extra layer of that,” said Brady.

“We have a very well-run crisis management response process internally.”

Woolworths Group is also looking to bolster its cyber defences in 2023 after its MyDeal company suffered from a cyber attack in October. CEO Brad Banducci has said that large-scale investment is a necessity going forward and that the cyber attack allowed the company to realise that and learn from past mistakes.

“We have significantly stepped-up investment in cyber resilience — doubling our cyber security budget over the past three years,” says Banducci.

“Woolworths Group has a dedicated team of around 120 cyber security team members, and we’ll invest around $60 million in cyber security programs in fiscal 2023.

“While we all wish it did not happen, the MyDeal data breach was a powerful learning experience for all of us and has really helped us lift our game.”

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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