Australia’s electricity grid and government services are vulnerable to cyber attacks, according to a report issued by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

In “Enabling Australia’s Digital Future: Cyber Security Trends and Implications,” CSIRO, the country’s national science agency, contends that Heartbleed-like cyber threats are on the rise and could wreak havoc in Australia, amounting to more than $16 billion (Australian) in healthcare fraud alone by 2012 and taking out the country’s energy grid and leaking private or confidential data such as taxpayer file numbers.

On releasing the report at CeBIT’s Cyber Security Conference today, James Deverell, director of CSIRO Futures, noted, “The more we rely on digital services for our basic needs like healthcare and energy, the more drastic the consequences of any breach may be.”

He called for services to be “designed with simplicity and transparency in mind from the very start.”