Data, risk and security leaders from some of the nation’s largest organisations gathered in Melbourne as part of Privacy Awareness Week – facilitated annually by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC).
This year’s theme was “back to basics” – a rallying call for people, organisations and agencies to ensure their privacy fundamentals are robust and routinely refined.
The boardroom event, hosted by PEXA, provided the opportunity for professionals from a range of industries to discuss emerging privacy trends, evolving community expectations around data use and the importance of protecting personal information.
The ongoing cyber threat
Unfortunately, on the back of a number of high-profile breaches in the past 12 months, Australians are being hit harder than ever by cyber-criminals.
The latest Targeting Scams report revealed Australians lost a record $3.1 billion to scams in 2022 – an 80 per cent increase on total losses recorded in 2021.
The report compiles data reported to the ACCC’s Scamwatch, ReportCyber, the Australian Financial Crimes Exchange (AFCX), IDCARE and other government agencies.
It also found that investment scams were the highest loss category ($1.5 billion), followed by remote access scams ($229 million) and payment redirection scams ($224 million).
And the effects extend far beyond financial damage, as ACCC Deputy Chair Catriona Lowe said in a statement.
“Australians lost more money to scams than ever before in 2022, but the true cost of scams is much more than a dollar figure as they also cause emotional distress to victims, their families and businesses.”
What can we do?
Alice Morrison, PEXA’s Chief Legal & Governance Officer, said that amidst the continued digitisation of our social and working environments, we must keep an eye on the basics.
“As individuals, we can all take simple steps to make sure we don’t share personal information without good reason when accessing services or products, protect our accounts using multi-factor authentication and strong passphrases, and wipe data from old accounts and devices.
“And for businesses, the protection of privacy and data is absolutely paramount – and is integral to building and maintaining the community’s trust in our handling of their personal information and something we continue to approach with genuine care.”
Post event, Alice shared that the forum was a valuable exercise in knowledge-sharing and best practice development.
“We’re proud to be an official supporter of Privacy Awareness Week – which plays an important role in raising the awareness of privacy and its importance within our communities and industries.
“Ultimately, organisations are working to ensure their customers are protected. Events like this are designed to help us compare perspectives from across a variety of sectors, with a view to collectively raising the bar for businesses and consumers alike.”