Cyber Security Business Forum Guests

Business forum shines spotlight on cyber security

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‘The cyber landscape is grim, we are all at risk, and we need to do something about it.”

Those were the thought-provoking words of Edith Cowan University (ECU) Associate Professor Mike Johnstone, keynote speaker at the City of Joondalup Business Forum held at Joondalup Resort on Thursday 28 June.

Around 130 key City stakeholders were in attendance at the Forum, which was titled: ‘Joondalup Innovation Hub: The Cyber Security Capital of WA’.

Dr Johnstone, who teaches secure programming and advanced software engineering at the ECU School of Science and is a member of the ECU Security Research Institute, outlined how vulnerable businesses are to cyber threats, reminding attendees that Western Australia is a ‘long way from anywhere else but on the internet we are milliseconds away from everyone else’.

He said cyber crimes impact 1.5 million victims, each day, 625,000 victims every hour, 1,042 victims every minute and 18 victims every second.

‘Cyber crime is actually a business, like any other business,” Dr Johnstone said.

“(Cyber) attacks are all over the place, there is a cost when it happens to you, and that cost isn’t just losing data for a time and cost to put it back again, there could be a cost in terms of reputational damage or stock price … and that is problematic.”

In 2017 the State Government provided $800,000 in funding to support the establishment of a Joondalup Innovation Hub – with cyber security being the first industry sector focus.

$140 million of funding has been invested by the Federal and State Governments, industry, university and research participants into a Cyber Security Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) at ECU Joondalup, which is at the forefront of increasing the security of critical infrastructure for the benefit of businesses and their customers in Australia.

Joondalup Mayor Albert Jacob said the City wanted to see all local businesses being successful, and it was important that they had the right level of understanding and skills to survive and thrive.

“We want to do what we can to make sure our businesses are protecting themselves from external shocks like cyber attack,” he said.

“As Dr Johnstone outlined in his address, cyber crime is a serious and growing concern which can disrupt and damage a business significantly if the proper precautions are not taken or warning signs ignored.”

Mayor Jacob said he was pleased that all spheres of government and industry have formally recognised the cyber security capabilities that exist in Joondalup.

“Our City has a goal to build Joondalup’s reputation as a place for innovation and creativity by enhancing growth in the creative industries and innovative businesses that expand local strategic employment,” Mayor Jacob said.

“Our City has a truly global outlook and can be proud of the partnerships it has forged with key stakeholders, not only with ECU but with North Metropolitan TAFE, the WA Police Academy and others over the past decade.

“We encourage local businesses to take advantage of the many opportunities available in Joondalup to build business knowledge and skill through these institutions.”

Dr Johnstone told attendees that according to insurance market Lloyd’s of London, Cyber Security could potentially cost the Australian economy $16 billion over the next decade.

An IBM survey of 419 companies in 13 countries found the average total cost of a data breach was $3.2 million, and $141 per lost or stolen record.

“(Businesses are) a target, I’m a target, we all are. If a computer has got something on it, it has got some value to someone,” he said.

“To put it bluntly, systems will be compromised and your data is going to be captured and sold by someone at some point.”

Dr Johnstone urged businesses to help protect themselves from the threat of cyber crime through measures such as strengthening passwords to more than 12 characters, turning on firewalls, and installing virus scanners on all devices and updating them regularly.

He also identified further strategies to help mitigate cyber crime, including undertaking a security assessment, insuring against attacks, disaster recovery planning and training.

To find out more about protecting your business from cyber security threats, contact the City’s Economic Development team by emailing business@joondalup.wa.gov.au

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