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The Breach Stops Here.

For Centrify media assistance in Australia or New Zealand, call John Harris at Impress Media  on +61 8 8431 4000 or email john@impress.com.au.

After massive Australian data breach, survey shows inadequate security hurts company reputations and bleeds customer relationships

Centrify Chief Product Officer Bill MannCentrify Chief Product Officer Bill MannCentrify, the leader in securing hybrid enterprises through the power of identity services, today announces survey results that reveal businesses are failing to meet consumer expectations of protecting their personal information.

These latest findings from the Centrify-commissioned Ponemon study come just days after reports of a massive data breach which exposed personal details of nearly 50,000 Australian employees of several government agencies, banks and a utility.

The Ponemon survey found that 45 per cent of Australian consumers have been notified by a company or government agency that their personal information was lost or stolen because of data breaches. Of these, 54 per cent experienced two or more separate incidents, causing one third of them to sever their relationship with the organisation experiencing the data breach.

Eighty per cent of consumers say a company’s privacy and security practices are very important to preserving their trust. Yet, last week’s Australian data breach - coming after a record 40 per cent increase in data breaches during 2016 - indicates that today’s security is neither secure nor providing consumers with a reason for confidence.

The Ponemon study reveals an alarming “trust gap”, with 70 per cent of consumers believing companies have an obligation to take reasonable steps to secure their personal information – a view shared by only 46 per cent of CMOs and 44 per cent IT professionals in Australia.

Centrify Chief Product Officer Bill Mann said these survey findings were a wake-up call for the C-suite. “Data breaches continue to cost them customers and affect the bottom line – but don’t have to,” he said.

Centrify Senior Director APAC SalesNiall KingCentrify Senior Director APAC SalesNiall KingCybersecurity leader Centrify has warned that the privileged password practice which allowed the comprehensive “Alf” software hack of an Australian defence contractor is disturbingly widespread.

Earlier this week, the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) revealed details of a data breach in which 30 gigabytes of sensitive information was stolen between July and November last year from 50-person aerospace engineering firm that subcontracts to the Department of Defence. The Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) codenamed the attacker Alf, after a character in the long-running Australian TV soap opera Home and Away.

Subsequent reports state the hacker stole sensitive data including restricted technical information on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, the C-130 transport aircraft, the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) smart bomb kit, and Australian naval vessels.

The hacked defence subcontractor had all IT-related functions managed by just one person, who had been in the role for only nine months. While initial access came from exploiting a 12-month-old vulnerability in the company’s IT Helpdesk Portal, the hacker used a common Local Administrator account password with access to all servers for lateral movement within the network. This provided access to email and other sensitive data.

Centrify Senior Director APAC Sales Niall King said the practice of allowing privileged administrator accounts to have extensive network access was disturbingly widespread. “Verizon recently reported that 80 per cent of breaches are due to compromised credentials,” he said.

Centrify Senior Director APAC Sales Niall KingCentrify, the leader in securing hybrid enterprises through the power of identity services, has released research which reveals that nearly 70 per cent of Australian IT professionals lack confidence in the ability of their organisations to prevent, detect and resolve data breaches.

As concerns grow globally about a cybersecurity skills shortage, Centrify-commissioned Ponemon research from Australia, the US, the UK and Germany, shows that 68 per cent of surveyed Australian IT professionals report they do not believe their companies have a high level of ability to prevent breaches.

The study reveals that 40 per cent of Australian IT practitioners report their organisation had suffered a data breach involving sensitive customer or business information in the past two years. That translates to a serious breach exposing extensive confidential data in two in every five organisations.

A recent report by the Australian Cyber Security Growth Network predicts that Australia will need an extra 11,000 cybersecurity employees to keep pace with increasing threats. While this warning aligns with growing concern about a global shortage of qualified cybersecurity professionals, most of those surveyed in Australia (62 per cent) admit they fear losing their jobs if a data breach does occur.

Centrify Senior Director APAC Sales Niall King, who is responsible for Australia and New Zealand, said every type of organisation needed qualified cybersecurity staff with the skills and experience to mitigate against growing threats. “With a shortage of candidates, cybersecurity technology must take up the slack,” he said.