Australia, Singapore firms amongst most likely to halt digital transformation due to cyberwarfare risks

Organisations in Australia, the US, and Singapore are amongst the top most likely to put a halt on their digital transformation initiatives due to cyberwarfare threats. Their counterparts in Japan are the least likely to pay in the event of a ransomware attack, joining government organisations as the sector least likely to do so as well. 

The Russia-Ukraine war has intensified the cyber threat landscape and impacted corporate decisions, with 55% of global organisations revealing they have stalled digital transformation projects due to cyberwarfare risks, according to findings from Armis’ State of Cyberwarfare and Trends report. The security vendor polled 6,021 IT and security professionals across 14 markets, including 501 respondents each in Singapore and Japan, and 511 in Australia. 

At 79%, Australian companies were the most likely to halt their digital transformation initiatives over cyberwarfare threats, followed by the US at 67%, Singapore at 63%, the UK at 57%, and Denmark at 56%. 

Some 40% of respondents in Australia saw more threat activities on their networks between May and October last year, compared to the previous six months, with 57% confirming their organisation had experienced a cybersecurity breach. 

“Many Australians have felt the effects of cyberwarfare first-hand through the ongoing fallout from the Optus and Medibank breaches,” said Armis’ ANZ partner business manager Evan Thomas. “Threat levels are increasing across the region and Australia is no exception, with resources that should be going into building businesses being diverted to tackle this situation instead.”

Describing cyberwarfare as “the future of terrorism on steroids”, Armis’ CTO and co-founder Nadir Izrael said it provided a cost-effective and asymmetric method of attack, and businesses had to be constantly vigilant and invest resources to defend against such threats. 

“Clandestine cyberwarfare is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. We now see brazen cyberattacks by nation-states, often with the intent to gather intelligence, disrupt operations, or outright destroy data,” Izrael said. 

In Singapore, 60% of respondents admitted to experiencing a cybersecurity breach, while 36% saw more threat activities on their networks between May and October last year, compared to the previous six months. Organisations in healthcare and telecommunications saw the highest increase.

Over in Japan, 44% said they had experienced a cybersecurity breach. Faced with a ransomware attack, though, Japanese organiastions were the least likely to fork out for the ransom, with 7% saying they would. In comparison, 47% in the US said their company’s policy was to always pay the ransom, according to the Armis report. 

Across the board, 31% of respondents from organisations with more than 500 employees said their policy was to never pay in the event of a ransomware attack, compared to 23% of their peers from companies with between 100 and 249 employees. 

Respondents from government organisations were the least likely amongst all sectors to pay in the event of a ransomware attack, with 43% noting their company’s policy was to never pay, compared to the global average of 26%. 

And while 31% globally said their organisation would only pay when customer data was at risk, 24% said their policy was to always pay the ransom.