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2021… The year of cyber security breaches

By Sean Aylmer

If it wasn’t for the coronavirus pandemic, 2021 would have been known as the year of cyber security breaches.

The Identity Theft Research Center, based in the US, says data breaches jumped 17 per cent last year compared to 2020, though the number is probably much higher because attacks are under-reported.

According to IBM, the average cost of a data breach is now $US4 million, and when it comes to ransomware demands, the average is around $US6 million. Last year the largest ever ransomware payout was made by an insurance company at $40 million.

Some of the world’s biggest companies got hit. The Microsoft Exchange Server was compromised impacting thousands of organisations.

A data dump of information belonging to over 550 million Facebook users was published online. Volkswagen, Audi disclosed a data breach impacting 3.3 million customers and prospective buyers, while international meatpacking group JBS, paid an $11 million ransom to restore access to its systems. There were even reports, denied by the Argentinian government, that a hacker stole data from National Registry of Persons, thus stealing information on 45 million residents.

It’s not just the big end of town being affected. According to Cybercrime Magazine a ransomware attack occurs every 11 seconds. And about one in 6,000 emails contain suspicious URLs, including ransomware.

The surge in cyber crime has triggered a big jump in demand for cyber professionals.

On Australia’s biggest job board, seek.com, there are more than 2,000 cyber security jobs waiting to be filled. And according to remuneration experts Payscale, the average base salary in Australia for cyber security skills is almost $100,000.

Now is the time to become a cyber security professional.

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