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  • 9 July 2020 17:25

Sophos survey: Three-quarters of Australian organisations fall victim to public cloud cybersecurity incidents

Ransomware and malware, exposed data, compromised accounts, and cryptojacking to blame

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – 9 July 2020 – According to The State of Cloud Security 2020, a global survey from next-generation cybersecurity leader Sophos, three quarters (74%) of Australian organisations experienced a public cloud security incident in the last year – including ransomware and other malware (73%), exposed data (30%), compromised accounts (28%), and cryptojacking (25%). Organisations running multi-cloud environments are greater than 50 per cent more likely to suffer a cloud security incident than those running a single cloud.

European organisations suffered the lowest percentage of security incidents in the cloud, an indicator that compliance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) guidelines are helping to protect organisations from being compromised. India, on the other hand, fared the worst, with 93 per cent of organisations being hit by an attack in the last year.

“Ransomware, not surprisingly, is one of the most widely reported cybercrimes in the public cloud. The most successful ransomware attacks include data in the public cloud, according to the State of Ransomware 2020 report, and attackers are shifting their methods to target cloud environments that cripple necessary infrastructure and increase the likelihood of payment,” said Chester Wisniewski, principal research scientist, Sophos. “The recent increase in remote working provides extra motivation to disable cloud infrastructure that is being relied on more than ever, so it’s worrisome that many organisations still don’t understand their responsibility in securing cloud data and workloads. Cloud security is a shared responsibility, and organisations need to carefully manage and monitor cloud environments in order to stay one step ahead of determined attackers.”

The unintentional open door: How attackers break in
In Australia, accidental exposure continues to plague organisations, with misconfigurations exploited in 69 per cent of reported attacks. Detailed in the SophosLabs 2020 Threat Report , misconfigurations drive the majority of incidents and are all too common given cloud management complexities.

Additionally, 29 per cent of Australian organisations reported that cybercriminals gained access through stolen cloud provider account credentials. Despite this, only a quarter of organisations say managing access to cloud accounts is a top area of concern. Data from Sophos Cloud Optix, a cloud security posture management tool, further reveals that 91 per cent of accounts globally have overprivileged identity and access management roles, and 98 per cent have multi-factor authentication disabled on their cloud provider accounts.

The silver lining
Nearly all global respondents (96%) admit to concern about their current level of cloud security, an encouraging sign that it’s top of mind and important. For Australians, 98 per cent of respondents reported that they’re concerned about the current level of cloud security. Appropriately, “data leaks” top the list of security concerns for nearly half of Aussie respondents (43%); identifying and responding to security incidents is second (34%). Notwithstanding this silver lining, only one in four Australian respondents (24%) view lack of staff expertise as a top concern.

About the survey
The State of Cloud Security 2020 report highlights findings of an independent survey conducted by Vanson Bourne among more than 3,500 IT managersacross 26 countries in Europe, the Americas, Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and Africa that currently host data and workloads in the public cloud.

The full report, along with a detailed list of cloud security recommendations, is available at

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About Sophos
As a worldwide leader in next-generation cybersecurity, Sophos protects more than 400,000 organizations of all sizes in more than 150 countries from today’s most advanced cyber threats. Powered by SophosLabs – a global threat intelligence and data science team – Sophos’ cloud-native and AI-powered solutions secure endpoints (laptops, servers and mobile devices) and networks against evolving cyberattack techniques, including ransomware, malware, exploits, data exfiltration, active-adversary breaches, phishing, and more. Sophos Central, a cloud-native management platform, integrates Sophos’ entire portfolio of next-generation products, including the Intercept X endpoint solution and the XG next-generation firewall, into a single “synchronized security” system accessible through a set of APIs. Sophos has been driving a transition to next-generation cybersecurity, leveraging advanced capabilities in cloud, machine learning, APIs, automation, managed threat response, and more, to deliver enterprise-grade protection to any size organization. Sophos sells its products and services exclusively through a global channel of more than 53,000 partners and managed service providers (MSPs). Sophos also makes its innovative commercial technologies available to consumers via Sophos Home. The company is headquartered in Oxford, U.K. More information is available at

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