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Australian C-suite in the Dark About Cybersecurity Threats

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A new research revealed that most of Australia’s Chief Executive Officers are unaware of cybersecurity threats to their organizations.

According to a research report from information technology company Unisys, around 88 CEOs and 54 CISOs across the private and public sector found that only 6 percent of CEOs said their organizations had suffered a cyber-attack in the last 12 months, compared to 63 percent of CISOs who reported attacks in their organizations.

The research highlighted that there is a lack of communication between the CEOs and CISOs from Australia’s companies. It also stated that cybersecurity is still considered to be an IT concern.

“Sixty-nine percent of CISOs believe that cybersecurity is viewed as part of the organization’s business plans and objectives; however, just 27 percent of CEOs agree with this statement,” the report stated.

Half of the CEOs (44 percent) that were surveyed believed that their organizations can respond to cyber incidents, but only 26 percent of CISOs feel the same way. The report also revealed that 51 percent of CEOs felt that their data collection policies are clear to users, but only 26 percent of CISOs agreed to it.

“The survey reveals that awareness of what information is being collected, and how, is not necessarily understood at a leadership level. There is a clear disconnect between the way CEOs and CISOs view the business risk of data security and their ability to prevent or manage data breaches,” said Gergana Kiryakova, industry director, cybersecurity for Unisys Australia and New Zealand.

“Information security professionals must start speaking the language of business to position cybersecurity as a way to mitigate risk and add value to the organization. For business leaders, cybersecurity is a clear competitive advantage in the new data economy,” Kiryakova added.

The report comes after multiple cyber-attacks on various organizations in Australia. Recently, the parliament of Australia suffered a security incident after an unknown intruder tried to hack their computer systems. According to the official statement, hackers tried to break into the parliament’s computer network that includes lawmakers’ email archives. However, the parliament officials clarified that there were no indications of data theft so far.

In June 2009, the Australian National University discovered a major data breach that affected students’ and University’s sensitive information. According to the University’s Vice-Chancellor Brian Schmidt, unknown cybercriminals attacked University’s systems and accessed personal information late in 2018, which was discovered by the University authorities on May 17, 2019. It’s believed that the hackers had unauthorized access to 19 years of significant amounts of information related to personal staff, students, and visitors.