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Australia US and UK to confront global ransomware threat

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 directed at organisations in Australia and globally – including on 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. 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.

Ransomware is a global threat, and cybercriminals using ransomware pose a significant risk to Australian organisations and households, according to the Assistant Minister for Defence, Andrew Hastie. 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.

“The Prime Minister in 2020 warned that post-COVID our world will be more dangerous, and more disorderly,” he added. “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.”

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