A government report published by the Australian Institute of Criminology, AIC, on Tuesday said Australians were losing billions of dollars every year to cyber crime.
The report put the total economic cost of cyber crime at 3.5 billion Australian dollars (2.6 billion U.S. dollars) per year, including 1.9 billion Australian dollars (1.4 billion U.S. dollars) lost by individual victims.
It found that Australians spent 1.4 billion Australian dollars (1.04 billion U.S. dollars) on preventing cyber crime every year and 597 million Australian dollars (447.1 million U.S. dollars) on dealing with the consequences of cyber attacks.
Responding to the report, Home Affairs Minister, Karen Andrews, said Australia could not allow this criminal activity to become a significant handbrake on the country’s economic growth and digital security.
“The government is taking action to mitigate the real and present danger that cyber crime presents to Australians and our economy.
“I want to make sure Australian businesses, big and small, are secure and consumers are protected,” she told Nine Entertainment newspapers.
Under new laws being considered by the government, company directors could be held accountable for cyber attacks.
The cyber-security standards, which were first proposed in the 2020 Cyber Security Strategy, would implement responsibilities for directors similar to those already in place for workplace health and safety.
However, the government has not decided if they will be made mandatory or voluntary.
A government discussion paper on cyber security favoured a voluntary model but warned of a risk that the industry may not substantially adopt the standards and could continue to manage cyber risk as it currently does.
Under a voluntary approach, companies that do not sign up could be forced to explain their reasoning to shareholders.