Cyber threats surge 13% in FY21: ACSC

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Thursday, 16 September, 2021

Cyber threats surge 13% in FY21: ACSC

Reports to the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) surged 13% year-on-year during FY21 as more Australians worked remotely in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ACSC’s latest Annual Cyber Threat Report found that the centre received over 67,500 cybercrime reports over the course of the financial year — an average of one every eight minutes.

Ransomware-related attacks grew nearly 15% from the prior year to nearly 500. Ransomware remains one of the most serious threats in terms of financial and disruptive impacts, the report shows.

Assistant minister for defence Andrew Hastie said healthcare was the second most targeted sector for ransomware attacks during the year, at a time when Australians are most reliant on health workers.

Meanwhile around a quarter of all reported cybersecurity incidents affected critical infrastructure organisations such as education, communications, electricity, water and transport.

“The government is taking action, we have introduced legislations to ensure that in the event of a large-scale cyber attack on our critical infrastructure, our cyber and law enforcement agencies are empowered to provide greater and more immediate support to the victims,” he said.

“[Meanwhile] our agencies will continue to undertake cyber offensive operations against those who would seek to do us harm.”

The ACSC also received over 1500 cybercrime reports per month that related to the COVID-19 pandemic and removed more than 110 malicious COVID-19 themed websites in collaboration with Telstra and Services Australia.

“Through effective reporting and partnerships with foreign and domestic agencies, the ACSC was able to provide advice and assistance for over 1630 cybersecurity incidents, and run 18 cybersecurity exercises involving over 50 organisations to strengthen Australia’s cyber resilience,” Hastie said.

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