Cybercriminals target Australia

Australia continues to be targeted by cybercriminals through ransomware campaigns impacting multiple sectors across our economy.

Assistant Minister for Defence, the Hon Andrew Hastie MP, said the Government is tackling cybercriminals head-on to support Australian organisations and individuals from cyber compromise.

“In 2018 the Australian Cyber Security Centre was established within the Australian Signals Directorate as the standing taskforce that combines the expertise of foreign and domestic law enforcement and intelligence agencies to fight cybercrime,” Assistant Minister Hastie said.

“The Australian Signals Directorate has used, and will continue to use, its broad range of offensive cyber capabilities to disrupt and bring cybercriminal syndicates targeting Australia to their knees. Offensive cyber is just one of the tools in Australia’s toolkit”, the Assistant Minister added.

But the Opposition disputes that and claims the government is doing nothing to fight back and stop cyber crime on Australians which has increased by 200 per cent.

“The Morrison Government talks tough about cybercrime, but in practice it is doing nothing to protect Australian jobs as these cybercriminals menace Australian business to the tune of a billion dollars a year”, Shadow Assist Minister for Cyber Security Tim Watts has said.

“In Senate Estimates, the Australian Signals Directorate confirmed it hasn’t used its offensive cyber capabilities to hit back at ransomware groups behind the attacks on the Nine Network or health networks in QLD and Victoria” Mr Watts added squarely disputing minister Hastie’s claim,

The ACSC provides vital advice and assistance to defend Australian businesses and individuals against ransomware, and brings together the Australian Signals Directorate’s intelligence, offensive cyber and cyber security capabilities to defend Australia’s interests from malicious cyber actors.

The ACSC takes the information it learns from cyber attacks against Australian businesses, and uses it to warn and protect further Australian organisations from being targeted.

“Under the Cyber Security Strategy 2020, the Australian Government is strengthening Australia’s capability to counter cybercrime with a $164.9 million investment,” Assistant Minister Hastie said.

Ransomware is one of the most damaging types of cyber attacks, which can have severe and long-lasting impacts to Australian organisations and their operations. But prevention is better than cure, and with cyber security the best offence is often a strong defence. Companies and organisations need to have protective measures in place that will make it harder for cybercriminals to harm their business.

The ACSC has published a ransomware Prevention and Protection Guide, and Emergency Response Guide. The guides are available at

Cybercrime can be reported through ReportCyber which is managed by the ACSC on behalf of law enforcement agencies, providing a single online portal for individuals and businesses to report cyber incidents.

According to Assistant Minister Hastie,. the Australian government and its agencies are keeping a close eye on all cybercriminals operating on the dark web or hiding behind encryption.

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