Cybersecurity is a growing field, not just here in Australia, but around the world. One of the main reasons for the rapid growth in the field is the constantly evolving and growing number of cybercrime attacks on businesses and individuals.
Driven by the rise in connectivity and the increasing use and reliance on cloud computing, cybercriminals have become more sophisticated in the way they target businesses and it is proving difficult for businesses to keep up in the ever-changing landscape.
According to their annual cyber threat report, the Australian Cyber Security Centre received one cybercrime report every 10 minutes over the past 12 months and they are not alone in seeing rising cybercrime attacks.
Across the ditch in New Zealand, the NZX was subject to a sustained DDoS attack over a four-day period in August 2020 that resulted in the suspension of trading.
In the US, daily cyberattacks on enterprise and government organisations are commonplace. In June 2021, a ransomware attack targeted iConstituent - a newsletter service used by US lawmakers to contact constituents.
Most recently, according to the Center for Strategic & International Studies, a Chinese-linked hacking group gained access to calling records and text messages from telecommunication carriers across the globe, according to a report from CrowdStrike. The report outlines the group began its cyberattacks in 2016 and infiltrated at least 13 telecommunications networks.
Do we have enough cybersecurity professionals in Australia?
With the growing number of cyber-attacks around the world, one of the biggest challenges faced by businesses and government agencies is finding the trained staff to combat cybercrime.
According to (ISC)² – the world’s largest nonprofit membership association of certified cybersecurity professionals – the global IT security skills shortage has now passed four million.
This means there needs to be a growth in the cybersecurity workforce of 145% to close the skills gaps and better defend organisations around the world, as reported by NEC New Zealand.
Here in Australia, according to the Institute of Data, the federal government has plans to invest over $230 million dollars into cyber security over the next four years.
Due to the increase in demand, Australia is facing a severe skills shortage in the cyber security sector. This shortage is responsible for more than $400 million in revenue and wages lost. Australia is currently short of 2300 workers in cyber security, with an expected demand of at least 17,600 additional professionals in the sector by 2026.
What is driving the increase in cybercrime?
With more and more connected devices, cybercriminals are discovering more access points to networks, both at home and in the workplace. At home, a lot of young people are spending more time than ever online and this is adding to the threat levels at home. With many parents unaware of the websites their children are visiting, this opens up a number of opportunities for cybercriminals to take advantage and it’s now more important than ever to educate your children about the dangers of online cybercrime.
Whilst technology is helping to protect individuals and businesses from the threat of cybercrime, we still require more trained professionals, especially in the workplace. Cybersecurity measures such as anti-virus and anti-malware software, along with VPNs, can all help to stave off the threat of cybercrime, however, there is only so far that can take you, especially in a business environment.
Currently, the shortage of trained and skilled cybersecurity professionals in Australia makes this a very appealing career path for many students and graduates. With the cybersecurity field set to grow significantly over the next five years, and further investment planned for training and development in the field, there will undoubtedly be significant opportunities for those students and graduates trained in cybersecurity.
Not only that, but the profession also offers significant job security. With the shortage of trained cybersecurity professionals set to reach 3.5 million by the end of this year, the opportunities for those will the relevant skills will be significant. The average salary for cybersecurity professionals is currently $75k-$120k per annum, however, this is expected to increase.
What type of company is looking for cybersecurity professionals?
The opportunities within the cybersecurity field are almost endless in Australia right now. There are very few businesses, either here in Australia or throughout the world, that are not looking to improve their cybersecurity.
The truth is, vulnerabilities are everywhere and continuing to grow. With the rapid growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) and connected devices, new vulnerabilities have opened up to cybercriminals, leveraging internet-connected smart devices to sneak malware onto the network.
From aeroplane systems and car alarms to power grids and security systems, more businesses than ever are under threat from cybercrime.
One industry that is fighting hard to combat cybercrime is the online gaming industry. The very nature of the industry leaves many businesses and providers open to the threat of cybercrime and they have invested heavily in countermeasures to keep up with cybercriminals.
A 2018 study revealed cybercriminals staged 12 billion credential stuffing attacks against gaming sites in 17 months. From doxxing to active listening, there are several threats to be aware of if you are an online gamer including malware, account takeovers and active listening where a cybercriminal will use your active mic and camera to learn personal information.
Of course, many companies within the online gaming sector have invested in cybersecurity in order to combat these attacks and protect their players. Online casino Betway not only promotes safer gambling, including ID checks to ensure no underage gamblers can access their site, but they also invest in cybersecurity methods in order to protect the personal data of gamers on their site.
SSL encryption, backend security and clear terms and conditions are all steps that online gaming companies are taking to protect users in addition to valid software licences where relevant. User support mechanisms and transparency help to reassure users about the security of the platform they are engaging on and help to keep them safe whilst enjoying online gaming.
Cybersecurity in Australia will be one of the fastest-growing fields over the next five years and it is a career that should be taken under serious consideration by those about to start a University degree or entering the final years at school.
Forbes reported that “Cybersecurity is very obviously a job sector of the future. Official estimates put job growth in the sector at 37% per year at least through 2022 – and that is probably conservative.”
Whilst Australia climbed to 17th in the 2021 Digital Quality of Life research carried out by VPN provider Surfshark, we still have work to do in order to break the top ten. Whilst we improved online security by 25% it is still an area for improvement and you could be part of that exciting future by following a career in cybersecurity.