To build awareness about the ransomware threat, the Minister for Home Affairs, Peter Dutton, and Chair of the Cyber Security Industry Advisory Committee, Telstra CEO Andrew Penn, have released the Committee’s first paper: “Locked out: Tackling the ransomware threat.”
We're told this paper, a detailed, 14-page PDF, "helps educate businesses to protect themselves by making a number of recommendations relating to email security, multi-factor authentication, software updates, training, back-ups, data lifecycle management and built in security features.
"Phishing and poor cyber security continues to be the main facilitator for ransomware attacks. This has been supported by a growth in the proliferation of cryptocurrency which is hard to trace, making it ideal for ransomware demands."
Dutton said: “Cyber criminals continue to see Australian businesses as an attractive target and ransomware is a particularly disruptive form of cyber attack that can have devastating impacts.
“The good news is that many ransomware attacks can be avoided by implementing basic cyber security controls and I urge businesses to take the time to review the advisory committee’s advice.”
His department notes that "the Morrison Government’s $1.67 billion investment in the Cyber Security Strategy 2020 is central to protecting families and businesses from cybercriminals.
"The Government has committed $124.9 million to strengthening law enforcement’s counter cybercrime capabilities, including $89.9 million to equip the Australian Federal Police with an additional 100 cyber detectives to identify and target cyber criminals."
Dutton added: “Recognising the threat posed by ransomware, the Australian Cyber Security Centre’s ‘Act Now, Stay Secure’ campaign has recently provided updated practical advice on mitigating ransomware for Australians.
“All Australians and Australian businesses need to know how to safeguard themselves against online threats, including ransomware, and should be taking action to do so.”
Industry Advisory Committee Chair and Telstra CEO Andrew Penn said that Australian businesses cannot afford to be complacent as the world becomes increasingly connected by digital technologies.
“Ransomware is one of Australia’s fastest growing threats as business spends more and more time participating in the digital economy,” Penn said.
“62% of small business have experienced a cyber security incident so being prepared and protecting your organisation and your customers is the digital equivalent of locking your front door at night.
“There are countless businesses that are attacked every day in Australia and, in some cases, those victims could have prevented or minimised the financial loss and emotional impact they faced through the use of simple cyber security controls and employee education.
“This paper is an important contribution to helping Australian businesses understand the risks of ransomware and prepare accordingly by drawing from the Committee’s diverse experience.
“The Industry Advisory Committee looks forward to its continued work with government to guide implementation of the Cyber Security Strategy 2020 as a partnership between the private and public sector is critical,” Penn concluded.
A copy of the Industry Advisory Committee’s paper is available here.
Dutton's office advises that you can get "the latest information and advice or to report cybercrime" by visiting cyber.gov.au or by calling 1300CYBER1.