Australian, US and UK security forces unite to call out ransomware attacks

By Jackson Graham

February 11, 2022

Ransomware remains the most serious cybercrime threat to Australia. (ryanking999/Adobe)

The Australian Cyber Security Centre and US and UK counterparts have joined forces to call out rising ransomware attacks and advise organisations on how to stay ahead of them. 

The ACSC annual cyber threat report for 2021 highlighted how ransomware remains the most serious cybercrime threat to Australia due to its financial and disruptive impacts. 

Ransomware cybercrime reports to the ACSC rose nearly 15% last financial year, with methods involving both data theft and threats to release information publicly if ransoms weren’t paid. 

Now the Australian agency along with its US counterpart, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the FBI and NSA, as well as the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre, have released joint advice to help organisations combat the problem. 

Federal assistant defence minister Andrew Hastie said the joint advice highlighted Australia’s mutual concern and commitment with its allies to “tackle this scourge”. 

“Together with our AUKUS partners, our respective cyber agencies are striking back at the cybercriminals who are seeking to employ ransomware and extort individuals, businesses, and governments in our nations,” Hastie said. 

“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.”

Hastie echoed a warning from the prime minister that the post-COVID world would be more dangerous and 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,” he said. 

ASIO boss Mike Burgess said this week that foreign interference and espionage from multiple countries – some not traditionally considered adversaries – had replaced terrorism as the “principal security concern” for Australia.

The advice comes alongside a ransomware attacks prevention and protection guide that the ACSC provides to inform Australians about how to fend off ransomware attacks.


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