Friday, 18 August, 2017

Australian organisations unaffected by global cyber attack: federal government

Australian govt monitoring cyber attack Australian govt monitoring cyber attack
Laurie Berry | 19 May, 2017, 14:45

Speaking through a spokesperson on Saturday, Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said there had been "no confirmed reports" of any such attacks occurring against Australian companies or government organizations.

He said the government was closely monitoring the situation.

"It's an global attack and a number of countries and organisations have been affected", British Prime Minister Theresa May said.

"We're not talking about a government organisation or a hospital or anything like that".

However, a USA cyber security firm has named Australia as one of the many countries affected.

The prime minister's right-hand man on cyber security, Alastair MacGibbon, is working with officials and health agencies to ensure all Australian organisations are protected.

"This happens on a regular basis to Australian citizens", Tehan said.

"And we've got to make sure at a departmental level, government level, departmental heads ... that they're taking the necessary steps", he said. They became aware of it when we had the incident with the Census, so there are no excuses. According to security experts, it exploits a vulnerability that was discovered and developed by the National Security Agency (NSA) in the US.

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Senior security staff held another meeting in the White House Situation Room on Saturday, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and National Security Agency were trying to identify the perpetrators of the massive cyber attack, said the official, who spoke on condition on anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

Several hospitals in London and other parts of England and Scotland were affected by the so-called ransomware, which blocks access to computer systems and asks for money to unlock it.

A spokeswoman for Portugal Telecom said: 'We were the target of an attack, like what is happening in all of Europe, a large scale-attack, but none of our services were affected'.

Attacks were being reported in Britain and 11 other countries, including Turkey, Vietnam, the Philippines, Japan, with the majority of affected computers in Russian Federation.

Two security firms - Kaspersky Lab and Avast - said they identified the malicious software in more than 70 countries.

British based cyber researcher Chris Doman of AlienVault said the ransomware "looks to be targeting a wide range of countries", with preliminary evidence of infections from 14 countries so far, also including Russia, Indonesia and Ukraine.

"One thing that is very important to note is our sinkholing only stops this sample and there is nothing stopping them removing the domain check and trying again, so it's incredibly important that any unpatched systems are patched as quickly as possible", MalwareTech warned.

"You're only safe if you patch ASAP". Cyber security experts said it could be the biggest cyber-attack of its kind ever.

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