Saturday, April 13, 2024

Australia, US, UK unite against global ransomware threat

The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), along with cyber security partners from the US and UK, has released an advisory on ransomware attacks and trends that have had an impact in Australia and globally, including on critical infrastructure.

The joint advisory from the ACSC, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), National Security Agency (NSA), and the United Kingdom’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC-UK), provides essential guidance for organisations and individuals to strengthen their defences against these critical ransomware threats.

In the latest ACSC Annual Cyber Threat Report highlights there were almost 500 ransomware related cybercrime reports received in the 2020-21 financial year, an increase of almost 15% compared to the previous financial year – with ransom demands ranging from thousands to millions of dollars.

The report showed approximately one-quarter of reported cyber incidents impacted Australia’s critical infrastructure, including essential services such as education, health, communications, electricity, water and transport.

Assistant Minister for Defence, Andrew Hastie said ransomware could cripple computer systems that Australian individuals and organisations rely on, by encrypting files and blocking access to electronic devices, making vital data inaccessible.

“Australia is one of the most secure places to connect online, yet this advisory warns us that we cannot be complacent. We need to be vigilant in updating devices and securing our networks, our businesses and homes,” Assistant Minister Hastie said.

“The Prime Minister in 2020 warned that post-COVID our world will be more dangerous, and more disorderly. We are seeing that playing out with authoritarian governments threatening conflict to achieve political aims – the rise of cybercrime and grey zone tactics like ransomware attacks are now a feature of our current security landscape.”

In last year’s ACSC Annual Cyber Threat Report, the Australian government highlighted that ransomware remains the most serious cybercrime threat due to its financial and disruptive impacts.”

“Together with our AUKUS partners, our respective cyber agencies are striking back at the cyber criminals who are seeking to employ ransomware and extort individuals, businesses, and governments in our nations – this joint advisory highlights our mutual concern and commitment to tackle this scourge.”

To read the full joint cyber security advisory, visit https://www.cyber.gov.au/acsc/view-all-content/advisories/2021-trends-show-increased-globalized-threat-ransomware

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