Australia to Try a New Strategy Regarding Ransomware Data Breaches
The Minister for Home Affairs Has Announced a New Set of New Measures Meant to Tackle Rising Cyber Threats.
The Australian Government has approved a massive investment of AU $1.67 billion (USD $1.23 billion) across 10 years to mitigate the threat posed by data breaches through Australia’s Cyber Security Strategy 2020, which includes a ransomware strategy.
We are continuing to observe cybercriminals successfully use ransomware to disrupt services and steal from Australians. Whether it is conducting attacks on critical infrastructure, taking from small businesses or targeting the most vulnerable members of our community, cybercriminals use ransomware to do Australians real and long-lasting harm.
In response, the Australian Government is taking concrete action to protect Australians, including working with our international and business partners to combat this global threat. Criminals are carrying out attacks simultaneously to exploit or steal from as many victims as possible. Over the past 12 months, Australia has faced a 15% increase in ransomware attacks reported to the Australian Cyber Security Centre.
During a time where we are focused on growing Australia’s future as a modern and leading digital economy, safety, security and trust in the cyber-enabled systems we all rely on has never been of greater importance. The Ransomware Action Plan takes a decisive stance – the Australian Government does not condone ransom payments being made to cybercriminals.
Any ransom payment, small or large, fuels the ransomware business model, putting other Australians at risk. Paying ransoms does not guarantee access to locked systems or sensitive data, and may open the victim up to repeat attacks. We need to ensure that Australia remains an unattractive target for criminals and a hostile place for them to operate.
Some of the highlights mentioned in the initiative are:
- The establishment of ‘Operation Orcus,’ a multi-agency group commanded by the AFP (Australian Federal Police).
- The implementation of a mandatory ransomware incident reporting provision for all affected organizations.
- The design of awareness-raising initiatives for various types of enterprises.
- Cyber extortionists and ransomware perpetrators based in the nation would face tougher penalties.
- Make a stronger case against countries that aid ransomware attacks or provide safe havens for hackers.
- Track and intercept bitcoin transactions that have been linked to ransomware or other criminal operations.
The Government aims to establish additional authorities through the Surveillance Legislation Amendment Act 2021 to improve its capacity to conduct investigations and prevent ransomware assaults.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) will be able to delete or remove data linked to suspected criminal activity, gain access to devices and networks, and even take control of online accounts for investigation purposes under this new legislation.