The financial cost of a successful targeted attack could top $85 million for some Australian businesses, according to the findings of a new report.

The BAE Systems Applied Intelligence report Business and the Cyber Threat: The rise of Digital Criminality is based on research conducted in late 2013 and February 2014 with 79 Australian respondents.

The survey asked them what would be the likely financial cost of a successful targeted attack. Twenty per cent indicated that it could reach $85 million or more, while 16 per cent put the cost at between $17 million and $84.9 million.

In addition, 24 per cent put the cost at between $1.7 million and $16.9 million, while eight per cent of respondents said it would be less than $1.7 million. The remaining 32 per cent said they did not know the likely financial cost.

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The report also found that 84 per cent of Australian respondents expected the number of targeted cyber attacks to increase over the next two years.

Fifty-three per cent of Australian businesses were most worried about organised groups of fraudsters attacking their business, while loss of customer data was a concern for 55 per cent of those businesses surveyed.

Eighty-four per cent of respondents felt their business was well equipped to prevent targeted cyber attacks.

However, 39 per cent indicated that they did not have, or were not aware of, a crisis response plan if a cyber security attack happened.

BAE Systems Applied Intelligence APAC and Middle East managing director Richard Watson said it was encouraging that Australian businesses were aware of cyber criminal threats.

"Cyber criminals are highly sophisticated, constantly finding new ways to steal an organisation's valuable information and targeting companies through a growing number of channels.

"Cyber crime is no longer just an IT problem but a business wide challenge," he said in a statement.

The vendor also surveyed enterprises in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada.

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