Ransomware continues to be a global threat, and cybercriminals using ransomware pose a significant risk to Australian organisations and households.
The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), along with cyber security partners from the US and UK, has released an advisory calling out the increase in sophisticated, high impact ransomware attacks that we have seen directed at organisations in Australia and globally - including on our 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.
Assistant Minister for Defence, the Hon Andrew Hastie MP, 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.”
Ransomware related cybercrime reports to the ACSC rose almost 15 per cent in the 2020-21 financial year, as cyber criminals’ methods evolved to both steal data and threaten its public release as a means to extort considerable ransoms.
The ACSC has published the Ransomware Attacks Prevention and Protection Guide on cyber.gov.au so all Australians can learn how to mitigate ransomware threats.
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
To report suspected ransomware, or any other cyber security incident, Australians and Australian organisations can contact ReportCyber 24/7 by email (asd.assist [at] defence.gov.au), or by calling the Australian Cyber Security Hotline on 1300 CYBER1 (1300 292 371).