Australia experienced 47,000 cyber security incidents over the year to June 30, half of which involved online scams or fraud, according to the Australian Cyber Security Centre’s 2017 Threat Report.

The report was published this week by Australia’s Cyber Security Minister Dan Tehan. He said the attacks included a serious breach of a defence contractor’s computer system in November 2016, which saw a significant amount of data stolen.

“Analysis showed that the malicious actor gained access to the victim’s network by exploiting an internet or public-facing server, which they accessed using administrative credentials,” Tehan said.

He said the ACSC had worked with the company to “remediate the compromise, remove the malicious actor and provide tailored advice on how to prevent this happening in the future”.

A form of cybercrime on the rise Down Under is what ACSC calls business e-mail compromises (BEC). In 2016-17 this was responsible for losses of more than $20 million – up 230 percent from $8.6 million in the previous year.

BEC commonly involves using e-mail to impersonate a senior employee and to change invoice details – typically with a new banking address – or to bypass anti-fraud processes, the report says.