AUSTRALIA POLITICS: Cyber Attack Hits Australia: Dan Tehan Cyber Security Minister

By Politicoscope May 14, 2017 15:50

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AUSTRALIA POLITICS: Cyber Attack Hits Australia: Dan Tehan Cyber Security Minister

The federal government has confirmed one Australian business has been affected by the ransomware computer system in a cyber attack. The so-called ransomware has wormed its way into thousands of computer systems globally in an apparent extortion plot, shutting users out unless they coughed up a payment.

Cyber security minister Dan Tehan has told Sky News there are reports of two other instances where this software may have been used.

‘There has been one incident of the ransomware hitting a business here in Australia and there could be two other incidents where it has occurred although we are trying to confirm that,’ he said.

‘At this stage it’s likely that at least one business has been impacted.’

The minister also confirmed the attack wasn’t on a government organisation.

‘We’re not talking about a government organisation or a hospital or anything like that… We are obviously working with that business the Australian Cyber Security Centre is engaging with them.’

Foreign minister Julie Bishop on Sunday also confirmed there was one business under investigation of a possible cyber attack.

‘There has been a report to the Australian Cyber Security centre of one instance of what we believe could be this ransomware,’ she told reporters in Cairns.

‘There have also been other reports made to our online cyber security network and the difficulty is of course there are literally hundres of instances of ransomware in Australia each week and so we are currently seeking to confirm whether these are examples of the particular ransomware that has cause so much havoc for example in the United Kingdom.’

University of Melbourne computing expert Dr Suelette Dreyfus believes it was possible local organisations had been hit, only they’re keeping it under wraps.

‘It might be that they’re just being very quiet because they don’t want to instil a lack of trust in their system,’ she said.

Dr Dreyfus said Windows computers that don’t have the latest security patches were vulnerable to the bug, urging Australians to ensure their antivirus software was up to date.

‘Every institution, every consumer, every student with a laptop should make sure that their system is fully patched,’ she said.

‘Because this would be nowhere near the international spread and depth of attack if people had run the updates that Microsoft had provided in March.’

The attack struck at least 16 British National Health Service organisations, along with computer networks of companies and municipalities in dozens of other countries.

Several hospitals in London and other parts of England and Scotland were affected and some reportedly halted surgeries amid fears the lives of patients were at risk.

‘It’s an international attack and a number of countries and organisations have been affected,’ British Prime Minister Theresa May said.

More than 75,000 similar attacks reportedly happened in almost 100 countries, with Russia, Ukraine and Taiwan hardest hit, according to the cybersecurity firm Avast.

Spanish telco giant Telefonica and US delivery service FedEx were among the businesses affected.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the government was monitoring the situation closely.

The ransomware known as Wanna Decryptor is believed to be responsible.


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By Politicoscope May 14, 2017 15:50

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