Cybercrime is taking its toll on Australian businesses, costing them more than A$600 million according to the latest report from the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC).
The Australian Business Assessment of Computer User Security (ABACUS) report, based on a national survey of 4,000 small, medium and large businesses, says computer security breaches affected 14% of Australian businesses in 2007, despite 85% of businesses using security tools.
AIC principal criminologist Dr Russell Smith said the security breached experienced by Australian businesses were generally opportunistic rather than targeted.
"The cost of computer security incidents for Australian businesses in 2007 was estimated at between $595 million and $649 million, while businesses spent as much as $1.95 billion on computer security measures," Smith said.
In 2007, 13 percent of small businesses, 20 percent of medium businesses and 30 percent of large businesses were affected by a computer security breach, according to the survey results.
Founder and CEO of security company Earthwave, Carlo Minassian, says the survey results are very accurate and highlight his experiences in dealing with SMEs.
"Typically SMEs don't have any security expertise or full-time security staff or the infrastructure to secure their environments and most barely have the resources to maintain their IT or their network, let alone worry about security," Minassian said.
The figure for computer security breaches in 2006-07 was $360 for small businesses, $2757 for medium businesses and $17,578 for large businesses.
Computer viruses and malicious code attacks were the most reported type of security breach, reported by 64 per cent of businesses.
"SMEs need to be educated and recognise that this is a serious problem. The threats are real and it's not exclusive to certain types of organisations," Minassian said.