ASIC warns cybercrime is the next ‘black swan’ event: How SMEs can prepare

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has identified cybercrime as the next ‘black swan’ or unprecedented event.

Speaking at the ASIC annual forum yesterday, ASIC chairman Greg Medcraft said advances in technology have led to the rise of cybercrime around the world.

“The links between market players and infrastructure mean that the impact of a cyber-attack can spread quickly and has the potential to dangerously affect: the integrity and efficiency of global markets; the protection of investors; and, ultimately, trust and confidence in the financial system,” he said.

Medcraft told the conference the threat of cyber-attack needs to be countered through risk management.

“Cybercrime is a systemic risk and I think it is the next black swan event,” he said.

Sean Duca, McAfee’s chief technology officer for Asia Pacific, told SmartCompany he agrees with Medcraft that cybercrime is a very big risk for organisations, although Duca says he wouldn’t characterise cybercrime as a black swan event as it has been around for a long time. 

“We have seen the tide rise on the cost of malicious cyber activity over the years,” he says.

Duca warns almost half of the SMEs in Australia have experienced some sort of attack over the past 12 months.

“A lot are not prepared and think that they have anti-virus software and that is enough,” he says.

“You need to think what is the data you have in your organisation and how do you secure that, even go so far as to identify and secure all the devices that are on your network.”

Duca says SMEs should have a clear cyber-security policy.

“I believe in the education and awareness perspective, it’s not just about buying a piece of technology to solve all your problems, a lot of it is about that human element,” he says.   

McAfee’s recent Quarterly Threat Report found there were 200 new malware samples every minute in 2013, or more than three new threats every second.

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