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Last week, while dealing with a widespread IT outage, the fire and rescue service in the state of Victoria (FRV), Australia, has confirmed being the victim of a cyber attack.

FRV acting Commissioner Gavin Freeman revealed that the outage was first observed in the early hours on Thursday, December 15th.

FRV operates 85 fire and rescue stations across the state, and this attack is affecting most of the IT systems, including dispatch, phones, email, and an automated system that opens station doors as soon as a call comes in.

On Friday, a RFV statement claimed that community safety has not been compromised and fire and rescue service continue to dispatch crews and appliances through mobile phones, pagers and radios. Extra staff are working in stations to make sure someone can listen to radios at all times.

We’re doing it in a more manual way, but it doesn’t have any impact on response times or community safety.


Furthermore, preliminary investigations confirmed the RFV had been targeted by “an external third party” in a cyber attack. It is still unclear if FRV has suffered a ransomware attack.

We have taken decisive action in response to this incident and are working around the clock with specialist cyber security firms and our partners in the State and Federal Governments, including the Australian Cyber Security Centre.


This is only the latest cybercriminal activity, as in the past months several high-profile Australian organizations were faced with attacks, including Medibank, the largest health insurance company in Australia, and Optus, the country’s second-largest telecom provider.

In November, the Australian government announced the creation of a joint operation against cybercriminal groups, with one hundred cybersecurity professionals and experts participating in the effort to dismantle ransomware cartels.

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Mihaela Popa


Mihaela is a digital content creator for Heimdal® and the proud owner of an old soul and a curious mind. Passionate to learn and discover more about cybersecurity, she will gladly share her latest finds with you.

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