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Boosting Cyber Resilience: How Australia Can Step Up Its Digital Security Game

What is Cyber Resilience?

man holding umbrella to protect against bolts

Cyber resilience isn’t just about fending off threats; it’s about keeping your business going even during a digital storm. Think of it as a blend of top-notch cybersecurity practices and a solid game plan for business continuity

Strengthened Cyber Resilience - Main Factors

Challenges continuously arise, demanding businesses to be reactive and proactive. Cyber resilience is this proactive approach, where you’re not just defending but preparing to bounce back stronger. 

The main factors contributing to this approach include:

  • Expertise in anticipating threats before they manifest.
  • Emphasis on bouncing back stronger post-incident instead of a holistic focus on just defence.
  • Consolidating tools and techniques to understand and pinpoint cyber threats.
  • Acts as a guide amongst the torrential
    rain of cyber threats.
  • Expertise in understanding and interpreting cyber laws and regulations.
  • Ensures compliance to avoid legal repercussions.
  • Amalgamation of resources to minimise financial impact during cyber breaches.
  • Ensures business stability against potential financial losses.
  • Skillfulness in maintaining system integrity and security.
  • Responsible for regular updates, password resets, and other security measures.
  • Developing contingency plans tailored for specific cyber threats.
  • Prioritisation of redundant systems and backup communication channels.
  • Collaboration with cross-functional teams to ensure smooth operation during system compromises.
  • Implementation of multi-layered encryption techniques for sensitive data.
  • Regular audits to ensure data integrity and to detect weak areas.
  • Deploy secure off-site storage solutions to safeguard against physical and cyber threats.
4 colleagues around a table working at laptops

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Planning Cyber Resilience

  • Before charting a way forward, we need to know where you stand. Assess your cyber maturity by evaluating your organisation’s rules, processes, and preparedness.
  • Anchor your assessment using globally recognised frameworks like the NIST Cybersecurity Framework or ISO/IEC 20071:2022. Collaborate with cyber experts who can offer tailored recommendations based on these standards.
  • For those overseeing critical infrastructure assets under Australia’s Security of Critical Infrastructure Act 2018, ensure your strategies align with the Critical Infrastructure Risk Management Plan requirements.
  • The Australian Cyber Security Centre’s Essential Eight offers mitigation strategies tailored for Australian businesses. Don’t write it off as a mere checklist.
  • While the Essential Eight caters primarily to Windows-based networks, the digital world is vast. If your ecosystem encompasses cloud services or enterprise mobility, you must seek strategies tailored to these environments.
  • It’s not about ‘if’ but ‘when’ a cyber incident will occur. A response plan ensures that when the inevitable strikes, you’re not reacting but responding with a well-thought-out strategy.
  • While the KWM’s Cyber Response Guide is a good starting point, tailor your response plan to your organisation’s unique aspects, considering specific assets, stakeholders, and potential vulnerabilities.
  • A plan is as good as its execution. Regular testing makes sure that the theoretical strategies translate to practical effectiveness.
  • Engage in controlled, simulated cyber attacks. Such ‘war games’ test systems and decision-making capabilities under pressure, ensuring that when a real threat emerges, your organisation is battle-ready.
  • A cyber-resilient culture starts with its people. Regular training sessions should be the norm, especially on prevalent threats like phishing. Make cyber awareness an integral part of your organisational culture.
  • Ensure clarity on roles during a cyber incident. Everyone from the IT team to the C-suite should know their part, ensuring a swift and coordinated response.
group of people sitting around a desk, A word map is also showing with words like e-learning, knowledge, information.
colleagues in red shirts around a table working at computers

‘Cyber Wargaming’

Australia’s intensified focus on cyber resilience stems from recent attacks on major entities, emphasizing the need for robust defenses.

A key initiative is the introduction of ‘wargaming’ exercises, involving major banks and institutions in simulated cyberattacks. This aims to strengthen response strategies through practical, real-time scenario testing.

Banking Sector

Banks are like trusted vaults for your hard-earned money, making them a favorite target for cybercriminals. Just a few digits – your account details and PIN codes – stand between your wealth and potential cyber threats.

What it Looks Like
Overwhelming traffic sent to a bank’s website or online service.

Impact
It can crash the bank’s online services, preventing customers from accessing their accounts.

What it Looks Like
Highly Sophisticated, long-term cyberattacks.

Impact
Allows criminals to gain deep access, stealing vast amounts of financial data or funds over time.

What it Looks Like
Attackers can use malicious code to exploit database weaknesses.

Impact
It can give access to the bank’s database, potentially leaking large amounts of data.

What it Looks Like
Taking advantage of software vulnerabilities before the bank or software provider knows or can fix them.

Impact
Immediate and unexpected theft or damage, as defences aren’t yet in place.

photo of a safe

The Latitude Financial incident, where 14 million customer records were stolen, further highlights the audacity and capability of cybercriminals. Although rejected in line with government policy, their ransom demands underline the urgent need for fortified defences.

Telecommunications Sector

What it Looks Like
Unauthorised interception of calls or messages.

Impact
Privacy breach, leading to the leak of sensitive personal or business information.

What it Looks Like
Attackers can deceive telecom providers to issue a new SIM card in the victim’s name.

Impact
The attacker gains control of the victim’s phone number, allowing unauthorised access to calls, texts, and two-factor authentication codes.

What it Looks Like
Physical or digital interference with telecom hardware.

Impact
It can cause network outages, slow services, or provide unauthorised access to sensitive telecom network parts.

What it Looks Like
Harmful software introduced into telecom infrastructure.

Impact
It can monitor user activity, steal data, or disrupt services.

Telecom providers like Telstra and Vodafone are vital in our daily lives, yet their central role in communication makes them prime targets for cybercriminals seeking access to vast amounts of personal and financial data.

Portrait of unrecognizable hacker with smartphone

We all remember the major Optus breach when Attackers accessed the personal details of approximately 10 million customers, including names, birth dates, phone numbers, and crucial identity documents. This prompted nationwide concern, leading to governmental involvement, discussions on privacy laws, and calls for increased cybersecurity measures.

Health Insurance Sector

Health insurance providers have somewhat of a dual role:

  • They must facilitate medical coverage and care for millions
  • They must act as guardians of highly sensitive personal and medical data

This data, often including everything from basic identification details to comprehensive medical histories, represents a goldmine for cybercriminals. It can result in a lot of threatening production of non-regulated drugs and is overall a huge privacy issue.

What it Looks Like
Unauthorised access to databases, leaking private customer information.

Impact
Exposed personal and medical details of customers, risking identity theft and privacy invasion.

What it Looks Like
Malicious software locks out legitimate users until a ransom is paid.

Impact
Potentially halting medical services or access to patient data until demands are met.

What it Looks Like
Deceptive emails or messages impersonating the health insurer.

Impact
Deceived individuals might provide personal or financial data directly to criminals.

Hacked, laptop or scientist with cyber security attack, virus problem or 404 glitch in laboratory. Screen, password mistake or medical worker with research trouble, software spam or ransomware danger

Conclusion

The emphasis on cyber resilience underscores the nation’s commitment to ensuring business continuity and protecting its citizens’ digital assets and information. The digital future is bright only if we do our due diligence. Want to make your company cyber-resilient? Talk to our experts at LEAP Strategies and pave your way toward a cyber-resilient future!

Customer Stories

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Platypus Outdoor Group

Platypus Outdoor Group is a Melbourne-based company that offers military, law enforcement, and emergency responder footwear, clothing and field gear for public and government purchase.

LEAP Strategies joined forces with Platypus in 2001 to implement and manage their technology solutions. Since the partnership began, LEAP has built a trusted relationship with Platypus through successfully establishing and maintaining their servers, network and security. Security is paramount due to their direct dealings with law enforcement and military forces in Australia and worldwide.

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Bob Stewart – A Spotlight on Success

Third generation family business, Bob Stewart is a hallmark retailer in the world of school uniforms around Australia.

Partner centric in our approach, LEAP Strategies has collaborated with Bob Stewart for 15 years, adapting technology solutions to suit evolving business needs.

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