Australia ranks 7th globally on data breaches. What’s the Scam?

by Michael West | Feb 9, 2024 | What's the scam?

Australia is the 7th most breached nation globally in 2023, according to Surfshark’s global data breach statistics recap. What’s the scam?

The scam is the scam:

  • Australia witnessed 3.5M leaked online user accounts in 2023, the same number as in 2022.
  • The rate of leaked accounts equates to 7 per minute.
  • Australia also ranks 7th in the world for breach density (134 leaked accounts per 1,000 residents).

“As we look back on 2023, there’s a positive trend in data breaches – a 20% decrease in affected accounts compared to 2022. Despite this improvement, 300 million users worldwide still experienced breaches,” says Agneska Sablovskaja, Lead Researcher at Surfshark. “Even a single account data leak can lead to unauthorised access, risking the misuse of personal information, potential identity or financial theft. Using the same passwords across multiple accounts can compromise others, so it’s crucial to use unique and strong passwords for different online services”.

It is also a good idea for authorities to tighten up the local compliance regime: “adhering to data protection regulations, ensuring proper storage practices, and limiting the collection of unnecessary information are key components of a resilient defence against malicious actors”.

According to Professor Andy Schmulow: “Firms that retain data they don’t need. It breaches APP 11.2. It puts the owner (and here I stress, the “owner” is YOU or ME, not fucking Aussie Home Loans) at risk every single day — hell, every single second — that continues (3 accounts stolen per second in the US). 

“Failures to explain or omissions to attempt to explain confirm that this is what they’ve done to others, because they couldn’t confirm that they had not done so to others. That means potentially hundreds of thousands of enquirers over the past 15 years have had their data illegally retained, and they’ve been put at risk.”

Fightback Spam: how to beat those dirty data rats

Michael West established Michael West Media in 2016 to focus on journalism of high public interest, particularly the rising power of corporations over democracy. West was formerly a journalist and editor with Fairfax newspapers, a columnist for News Corp and even, once, a stockbroker.

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