New report finds link between data breaches and other forms of cybercrime victimisation

Australian Institute of Criminology

Today the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) has released a report which examines the prevalence of data breaches among Australian computer users and the relationship between data breaches and other forms of cybercrime victimisation.

This study draws on data collected in a national survey conducted in mid-2021. The report found that almost one in 10 respondents said they were notified their information was exposed in a data breach in the 12 months prior to the survey.

AIC Deputy Director Dr Rick Brown said survey respondents who had been notified of a data breach were 34% more likely than other respondents to have been a victim of identity crime in the 12 months prior to the survey.

“There were higher rates of identity theft, online scams, fraud and ransomware attacks when comparing the difference in cybercrime victimisation between those who had and had not been the victim of a data breach.

“The findings demonstrate that it essential we protect individuals who have been exposed in a data breach from other potentially related cybercrimes, and this should be prioritised when data breaches occur,” Dr Brown said.

The most common signs of being a victim of identity theft were:

  • being told by a bank their identity had been stolen or account was misused
  • finding unauthorised activity on their credit card
  • getting calls about unpaid bills
  • finding suspicious transactions on their bank statement
  • being unable to apply for credit
  • missing or strange bills.

These were all more likely to happen to respondents who had been notified their information was also exposed in a data breach.

“In light of recent major data breaches in Australia, this research should help policy makers and law enforcement partners develop strategies to respond to data breaches and protect victims from repeat victimisation,” Dr Brown said.

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