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Australia and NZ among 'most vulnerable' to security attacks

22 Mar 2016

Australia and New Zealand are among the most vulnerable economies in the world at risk of falling to a cyber attack, according to the Asia-Pacific Defence Outlook 2016 from Deloitte.

According to the report, the “Cyber Five” - South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Singapore - appear nine times more vulnerable to cyberattack than other Asian economies.

Conventional armed conflict in Asia-Pacific fell by 30 percent in 2001-2014 over 1985-2000. Yet, there are new shift regarding the defence focus in Asia-Pacific countries – namely shift towards naval security and cyberattack, the report says.

Amid economic growth, naval build-up in the region is creating new kinds of vulnerability to cyberattack, particularly in the advanced economies of South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Singapore – the Asia-Pacific Cyber Five, the report explains.

Deloitte says the Cyber Five are the most heavily dependent on internet-based interactions.

Asia’s rapid economic development has pushed citizens, businesses and government agencies onto the internet, creating new risks and growing vulnerability to cyberattack. However, the internet push has not affected Asia-Pacific countries equally, and the emerging Asian cyber environment presents unique challenges for defence policy makers and their counterparts in intelligence and law enforcement.

As a group, the Cyber Five are nine times more vulnerable to cyberattack than the other thirteen Asia-Pacific economies for which data are available. South Korea’s rapid move toward ubiquitous wireless access propelled it to the highest score for cyber risk in 2014, the research shows.

The wide gap in vulnerability between the Cyber Five and the other Asia-Pacific economies may point toward an emerging defence challenge.

China and India are far less vulnerable to cyberattack than the Cyber Five, but these two lower-vulnerability nations, and other Asia-Pacific nations, have committed to building advanced cyber capabilities.

Finally, the lower-vulnerability nations may therefore be prepared to behave more aggressively in cyberspace, because their potential adversaries are much more exposed to internet-based damage, the report says.

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