In the past two decades the global proliferation of digital technology, and the unscrupulous figures seeking to exploit it, has seen cyber risk become one of the leading risk factors for businesses in Australia.
Criminal gangs are benefitting from society’s increased reliance on digital technology, the Australian Crime Commission has warned.
Its biennial report on organised crime says cyber attacks and technology are key enablers of serious illegal activity.
Cyber-crime acts against individuals, businesses and governments, can be conducted from anywhere around the world, and can be easily carried out by individuals, organised crime groups or nation states. Defending the internet against civilian and military intruders is now a high-priority global security problem.
Mobile devices are particularly vulnerable, because users do not take security seriously enough. Malware and ransomware, which can encrypt files and bar access until a fee is paid, are increasingly prevalent in Australia.
As organised crime becomes smarter at exploiting technology and members of the community increase their reliance on mobile devices, there is likely to be an increased susceptibility to compromise, the report says.
Other enablers of organised crime are money-laundering, identity theft, public sector corruption, violence and criminal exploitation of business structures.