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Information and communication technology has become an important part of ICT infrastructure of any business, government institution, university, entertainment and healthcare institution. It has made the business process of these institutions and organization a lot easier, accelerated the growth of the organization. With parallel to the advancement of information and communication technology, cyber-crimes are getting increased day by day. Technology has become more efficient, more robust, so is cyber-crimes. Any organization that use some form of ICT technology, should think about possible cyber-crime attacks to their organization. The biggest target of these attacks are data from the targeted system.

Cybercrime is also known as computer crime. Cybercrime is a special type of crime where computers are used as an instrument of illegal actions. There are different types of cybercrime, including fraud, unauthorized access and theft of intellectual property, violation of privacy, and information security attacks like DoS etc.

The aim of this report is to analyze how cybercrime is particularly becoming a threat for government and other organization as well. Computer and Internet were mostly spread in the US countries at the time of inception of these technologies. In earlier days, most of the cybercrimes used to happen in those countries. But now the scenario is different, now the whole world is under the risks of cybercrimes.


The Reserve Bank of Australia or RBA faced a cybercriminal attack in March’ 2013. The attack used malware embedded in emails with a subject line “Strategic Planning FY2012”. The people who received the email, opened it and became the victim of the attack. The malware contained into the email was targeted to bypass the security measurements of the bank’s ICT infrastructure. But, according to RBA, the malware was not successful and no data from the Bank had been lost or corrupted. The attack targeted information related to G20 meetings. It was suspected that China is behind the attack. Though RBA did not comment on this and the China government also denied the claim .

Overview of Cyber Crime

Internet is an important factor behind cybercrimes. In most of the cases, the main intention behind cybercrimes is stealing information from others including individuals, organization, government institutions etc. there is an important difference between traditional crime and cybercrime. Cybercrime is not aimed for any physical body like traditional crimes. Cybercrime is aimed for virtual entities or collection of databases, networked computers of an organization etc. [4]

Another important attribute of cybercrime is the non-locality. Cybercrime actions are not confined within a town, state, country even continent. It may span over any part of the globe. Thus, enforcement of laws on cybercriminal activities is quiet challenging and different than other types of crime.


Types of Cybercrime

There are different types of activities that comes under the tag of cybercrime. The broad spectrum of cybercrime activities have been categorized into three groups.

In the first group, there are cybercrime activities like breaches to corporate or personal privacy, obtaining digital information illegally, blackmailing some firm or individual through the use of digital techniques and media etc. It also contains the growing number of cybercrime in identity theft.

In the other group, there are cybercrimes based on transactions. For example, fraud, human and child trafficking, child pornography, money laundering, digital piracy, counterfeiting etc. The differentiating factor for these crimes is, crimes are targeted to specific victims and the criminals can hide themselves as anonymous over the Internet. Insider attacks from corporate organizations is related to this group of cybercrime. In insider attacks sometimes people from an organization deliberately leaks sensitive organizational information to third party.

In the third group, the cybercrimes that are involved in attempts for disrupting services of some network or Internet, are included. These type of cybercrimes are involved in spamming, Denial of Service or DoS attacks, hacking, cyber terrorism activities etc. However, cyber terrorism is another special type of cybercrime. Cyber terrorism activities can be life threating to mass public. These attacks are generally targeted to economy and technological infrastructure of some nation.

Privacy Invasion and Identity Theft

Identity theft and privacy invasion show how cybercrimes can impact differently on the virtual and physical entity of an individual or some organization. For example, in US social security number of an individual is an important private information [6]. If an attacker manages to get the social security number of an individual then the attacker will have access to employment, tax and other details of that individual. Even in the worst case, the identity of the individual will be stolen and misused. This will cost the individual a lot. Same is true for credit card information. It can also be used for reconstructing all legal documents and information of a person. According to a study by FTC or Federal Trade Commission, identity theft impacts almost 3.3 million US citizens in 2012. They faced a loss of $35.9 billion. Most of the stolen information were credit card details, ATM card details, etc. Day by day such activities and incidents are growing in numbers.

Internet Fraud

Internet fraud is a common cybercrime mostly related to eCommerce. In the basic type of Internet fraud, an email is sent to the victim claiming winning of some lottery or some lucrative deals. The mail also asks the victims to transfer some amount of money to some bank account. And it cheats the victims. There are various variations of Internet frauds. Online auctions is another place where Internet frauds are very common. The main attribute of this type of cybercrime is, here the loss is not without the knowledge of victims. The victims are unable to identify the frauds.


ATM fraud

ATM or Automated Teller Machines are used widely for getting cash from a bank account. Users need secret PIN or Personal Identification Numbers for accessing their bank accounts. Cybercrime attackers intercepts the PIN and data from the magnetic strips of the ATM cards. Then these information will be used for making fake ATM cards and accessing the bank account of the victim illegally.

Piracy and File Sharing

Piracy and infringement of digital copyright is a typical and widespread cybercrime. In most of the cases, the participating entities in the crime may not be aware that they are committing some cybercrime. For example, piracy of music CD, movie DVDs is a common issue. Those are pirated and shared cross the file sharing websites by using torrents and peer-to-peer file sharing options. Common users downloads these files. This is a type of cybercrime where the entertainment industry is affected as there revenues come from selling of these CD and DVDs. When users get the free pirated copies of these over the Internet then the entertainment industry losses its business. Commercial digital distribution of music and movies and other entertainment resources have helped the entertainment industry to cope up with the impacts of piracy and copyright infringement to some extent.


Hacking is the name of a collection of cybercrimes ranging from stealing information from victims to breaching privacy over the Internet. A hacker gain unauthorized access to someone else’s computer or network from the system of the hacker. Sometime the reason may be curiosity or sometime there is some financial benefits. Hackers get generally identify and exploit vulnerabilities of a system to enter into a system. Then they use some malware or virus for capturing resources, making the system compromised. Sometimes they add compromised systems in their zombie networks and then use the zombie network for bigger attacks like DoS attacks.

Malware and computer virus

Releasing a computer virus deliberately is another type of cybercrime activity. Most of the malware are self-propagating and self-replicating. Virus and malware are used for infecting a computer or similar information systems, stealing information from those systems, consuming computing resources on those systems. Sometime it damages software and hardware components of the affected system.

DoS, DDoS Attacks

eCommerce websites, banking websites and other similar type of organization websites are common targets for Distributed DoS or DoS attacks. Here, the servers of such websites are flooded with huge traffic so that the upper limit of load handling by those servers are reached and the servers go down. The legitimate users of the services from those websites will no longer be able to access the servers. It costs multi-million dollar losses for the organizations.

DDoS is a specialized version of hacking. In this case, a network of compromised and infected network, called zombie network is used for send traffic to the target. DDoS is more harmful and severe from a DoS attack.


Spam is a significant type of email based cybercrimes. Unsolicited advertisements of services and products are circulated by spam emails over the Internet. It waste the bandwidth, storage and other resources of a network and systems. So, this is a criminal offence to send spam emails to someone. However, a contrasting opinion of ‘freedom of speech’ stands in favor of spams. But cybercriminals use spam emails for spreading malware and viruses and for growing zombie networks.


Sabotage is a cybercrime activity related to hijacking a website that belongs to some other organization or government body. It is also involved in damaging political and governmental resources for making severe attacks on public or nation.


Forgery and counterfeiting

Advancement of technology has been misused in counterfeiting activities by the cybercriminals. Updated digital printer and copier are being used in currency counterfeiting and forgery. Other than currency, immigration documents are also being illegally produced with higher levels of accuracy.

Child Pornography

New media technologies are being misused in cybercrimes like child pornography. Internet is also being misused heavily for benefits of the cybercriminals involved in such activities. There is no easy solution for this type of cybercrime.

Impact of Cybercrime

The malware attack to RBA is not a special case. Similar attacks to other banking and governmental institutions across the globe are happening daily. Some of these attacks become successful and mostly are unsuccessful. So, data is always at risk.

The attack to RBA was not successful because the bank has a stronger and robust security infrastructure for its ICT resources. They regular monitors their IT infrastructure and develops awareness among its employees. So, the bank became able to identify and mitigate the attack. But this is not the case for other institutions and businesses.

Larger businesses, banks, governmental institutions and enterprises can spent more investment behind securing their Information and Communication Technology infrastructure. But this is not true for small and medium scale businesses and organization. For cybercriminals, these SMEs are ‘soft target’. The attackers can steal more data from these businesses with very little efforts.

According to McAfee 2013 publication , the estimated cost of cybercrime with respect to global economy, is from $300 billion to $1 trillion per year. The statistics is enough to give an idea of the severity of cybercrime on economy and businesses. The report by McAfee also identified that the defense organization of countries are particular targeted for severe cyber security attacks. Day by day cybercrime is becoming a part of ‘war’ between nations and countries.

When there is a growth in economy, the rate of cybercrime will also go higher. Because cybercriminals will try to utilize the economic growth for their own benefits. On the other hand, in case of recessions and hard times in business, sometimes business are not able to make required investment for their information security infrastructure. In such cases, the cybercriminals takes advantages of these situations.

Information security risks for cybercrimes and the following consequences for businesses is quiet higher for the businesses that stores and processes valuable IP or Intellectual Property information like credit card information of customers, personal details of customers etc. There will be different implications of a potential security breach for these organization based on the attributes of the assets. Organizational value may get affected by these stolen intellectual properties. Because there are several laws and regulations that will not be favorable for the organization. 

The risks from sophisticated information security attacks and cybercrimes increases the cost of potential damages to the organization.

Issues and Trends in Cybercrime

Following trends and issues of cybercrime will help to understand the long term effects of cybercrime.

  • Cybercrimes are getting merged with traditional crimes. Those criminals are utilizing the IT infrastructures and equipment for accomplishment of their criminal motives. Investigations of such crimes are becoming more complex. Day by day the distinction of cybercrime and traditional crimes are getting blurred.

  • Earlier, cyber cafes were used for the cybercrime activities. Emergence of mobile device, smartphone and communication technology has made cybercrime activities more complex. A smartphone is now enough for accessing internet and accomplishment of some cybercrime.

  • Cyber bullying is affecting innocent lives.

  • Online banking and similar services based on traditional security infrastructure like public key cryptography, is no longer a highly secure infrastructure.

Countermeasures for Cybercrimes

Online security is highly dependent on digital countermeasures for cybercrimes. But, most of the cyber-attacks and cybercrime activities can be handled with proper awareness and following some sets of best practices and procedures.

From the organizational viewpoint, cyber security measurements should be aligned with the risk management process of the organization. And the risk management process should be followed on regular bases. Some of the possible and important countermeasures for cybercrimes are given below,

Awareness through training and workshops will help to combat with cybercrime activities. Organization should arrange such training for their employees, develop clear and concise security plans. The employees should be able to understand hacking and other cybercriminal activities. Then only they will be able to identify such activities if those happen to them in real-life. Attacks like spam and phishing can be mostly avoided by proper awareness.

The digital assets including ICT infrastructure like data, computer, servers, networking equipment should be secured. Even though the budget can be a problem for SMEs they should keep SME balance between the investment and losses from potential cyber security risks.

The software and systems used by organization should be up-to-date and upgraded to latest security updates. This will help to reduce the vulnerabilities in a system and making it more secure.

Updates antivirus, IDS or intrusion detection system, firewalls and proxy servers should be properly installed, managed and updated.

Websites and web applications are also susceptible to malware. So, those are also needed to be scanned.

All sensitive data should be backed up securely and reliably.

Networks should be equipped with DDoS mitigation strategies and measurements.

Passwords for systems and accounts should be well managed. Stronger passwords should be used and needed to be changed frequently.

While using public networks and computer, there are higher chances of cyber-attacks. These things are needed to be kept in mind and possible prevention techniques should be adapted.

Use of sensitive information like credit card, identity etc. should be done very carefully. These information are needed to be shared with trusted entities only. Before sharing such information, user should check whether the connection is secure or not. This can be done by simply checking for HTTPS rather than HTTP.

Users should check the sender of emails before opening an unusual email. If the email seems to be suspicious then they should refrain from clicking anywhere in the mail.


Cybercrimes are growing day by day. As, given in the background case study, such attacks happens for organization regularly. In this report, an overview of different cybercrime activities have been given along with the impact of cybercrime activities in economy, businesses and individuals’ lives. Following the discussion, there is a brief discussion on possible countermeasures of cybercrime activities.




BBC, "Australia's central bank targeted by hackers," BBC, 11 March 2013. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 28 April 2015].


S. W. Brenner, Cybercrime, ABC-CLIO, 2011.


D. Wall, Cybercrime, Polity, 2011.


T. Douglas and B. Loader, Cybercrime, Psychology Press, 2009.


R. Moore, Cybercrime: Investigating High-Technology Computer Crime, Routledge, 2014.


H. T. Milhorn, Cybercrime: How to Avoid Becoming a Victim, Universal-Publishers, 2011.


R. Santanam, Cyber Security, Cyber Crime and Cyber Forensics: Applications and Perspectives, Idea Group Inc (IGI), 2010.


A. Reyes, R. Brittson, K. O'Shea and J. Steele, Cyber Crime Investigations, Syngress, 2011.


J. R. Westby, International Guide to Combating Cybercrime, American Bar Association, 2003.


R. D. Clifford, Cybercrime: The Investigation, Prosecution and Defense of a Computer-related Crime, Carolina Academic Press, 2011.


M. Yar, Cybercrime and Society, SAGE, 2013.


McAfee, "The Economic Impact of Cybercrime and Cyber Espionage," McAfee, 2013.


R. Anderson, C. Barton, R. Böhme, R. Clayton, M. J. V. Eeten, M. Levi, T. Moore and S. Savage, "Measuring the cost of cybercrime," The economics of information security and privacy, pp. 265-300, 2013.


P. Hyman, "Cybercrime: it's serious, but exactly how serious?," Communications of the ACM, vol. 56, no. 3, pp. 18-20, 2013.


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I. Baggili, Digital Forensics and Cyber Crime, Springer Science & Business Media, 2011.


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T. J. Holt, A. M. Bossler and K. C. Seigfried-Spellar, Cybercrime and Digital Forensics, Routledge, 2015.


M. Sauter, The Coming Swarm, Bloomsbury Publishing USA, 2014.


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