A report published by the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) on Tuesday said citizens were losing billions of dollars every year to cyber crime.
The report put the total economic cost of cyber crime at A$3.5 billion ($2 billion) per year, including A$1.9 billion ($1 billion) lost by individual victims. reports Xinhua news agency.
It found that Australians spend A$1.4 billion on preventing cyber crime every year and A$597 million on dealing with the consequences of cyber attacks.
Responding to the report, Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said Australia “cannot allow this criminal activity to become a significant handbrake on our economic growth and digital security”.
“The government is taking action to mitigate the real and present danger that cyber crime presents to Australians and our economy,” she told Nine Entertainment newspapers.
“I want to make sure Australian businesses, big and small, are secure and consumers are protected.”
Under new laws being considered by the government, company directors could be held accountable for cyber attacks.
The cyber-security standards, which were first proposed in the 2020 Cyber Security Strategy, would implement responsibilities for directors similar to those already in place for workplace health and safety.
However, the government has not decided if they will be made mandatory or voluntary.
A government discussion paper on cyber security favoured a voluntary model but warned of a risk that the industry “may not substantially adopt the standards and could continue to manage cyber risk as it currently does”.
Under a voluntary approach, companies that do not sign up could be forced to explain their reasoning to shareholders.