Australian businesses are being urged to hire professional in-house hackers or face imminent cyber-attacks that could destroy years of operations with just one click of a mouse, according to coding bootcamp firm Coder Academy.

Coder Academy – which bills itself as Australia’s only accredited coding bootcamp provider – has launched an intensive course to combat a new wave of cyber-crime threatening all businesses, from Mum and Dad operations to global corporations.

Coder Academy’s GM Sally Browner said a raft of high profile cyber-attacks, including those on the 2016 Australian Census; extra marital dating site Ashley Madison; Google and iCloud should serve as a very serious warning for all businesses.

“Gone are the days of physical filing cabinets and storing critical information in notepads and books; everything is planned, shared, paid for and executed online now,” Browner said.

“Think about how your business operates: collaborative work documents, email correspondence and financial transactions are all online so that means they’re all at risk of being hacked, and that’s why every business who is serious about operating efficiently, safely and with respect to privacy needs to think seriously about employing an ethical hacker,” she added.

“There is no time to waste to ensure that the Australian workforce is prepared to defend against the next wave of cyber-crime.”

The firm cited recent studies which indicated that 30 to 40 per cent of CEOs are considered digitally illiterate. “Australia is also facing a serious cyber security skills shortage,” it said.

Coder Academy’s Educator James Holman said ethical hackers were in high demand.

“Businesses are losing more and more money to data breaches and cyber-attacks — and there is an urgent need for more local talent to help prevent this” Holman said.

“Training workforces in Cyber Security is crucial because it is more important now than ever to be able to sniff out vulnerabilities in order to provide ways of mitigating these risks. Cyber Security — for me — is an arms race between programmers. It’s a race between those with systems, services, and data, and those trying to obtain access or control over them.

“As people and companies continue to become more reliant and integrated with technology, they’re also becoming more and more exposed to various forms of cyber-crime — from stealing data to hacking systems or services. The issue is that as we become more exposed, it’s also becoming easier and easier for people to learn how to ‘break-in’.