Cost and number of cyber attacks drops in Australia
The average cybercrime victim now loses $200, down from an average of $300 just 12 months ago. Photo: Reuters
The average cost of a cyber attack in Australia has dropped by $100 over the past 12 months.
The average victim now loses $200, down from an average of $300 just 12 months ago, according to the annual Norton cybercrime report from security firm Symantec.
The report showed the number of victims also dropped from an estimated 5.4 million in 2011-2012 to 5 million in the past year.
The combined cost to Australians dropped from $1.65 billion to $1.06 billion, the report estimated.
Sean Kopelke, Symantec's head of technology for the Pacific region, said the drop in crime could be the result of better security awareness.
"[Australians] are getting a little bit more sensible around understanding the security risks," Kopelke said, especially with emails and social networking.
Meanwhile, cyber attacks are "focusing more on select individuals".
He said attackers were trying to secure lower cash sums – in the tens rather than hundreds of dollars – in order to "slip under the radar".
"[Criminals] aim for this 20 or 30 dollar figure instead of several hundred dollars because people will be more prone to pay it," he said.
So-called "ransomware" attacks, where criminals lock computers down and demand a payment to unlock them, are increasingly common, he said.
Fraud and identity theft are also common.
Australia compared well with the rest of the world, where the average cost per victim remained at more than $300.
The global cost was estimated to stand at $US113 billion ($119.36 billion), up slightly from $US110 billion in the last report.
Kopelke said the number of victims in developed countries was down across the board, but this was more than offset by an increase in victims from developing countries.
The report surveys 500 people in each of 24 countries every year, but overall estimates include data from Norton's global intelligence network.