Tag: cyber attack

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Privacy and cybersecurity laws expected to undergo a significant overhaul in the wake of Optus data breach
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Ransomware plan of action
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Class action following ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline
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Continuing to take its Toll: Toll Group still feeling impacts nine months after experiencing Ransomware Attack
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First reported death connected to misfired ransomware attack on German hospital
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Cyber Criminals “King of the (Data Breach) Jungle”: 61% of all Data Breaches caused by Malicious or Criminal Attacks, according to OAIC Report
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Can It Get Any Worse? Travel Giant CWT pays $4.5 Million USD ransom to Hackers who Stole Corporate Files and Knocked 30,000 Computers Offline
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Twitter accounts of prominent figures hacked
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D’oh! Beer company suffers cyber attack
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A New Low: Red Cross subject to Fraudulent Claims for Bushfire Grants by Cyber Thieves

Privacy and cybersecurity laws expected to undergo a significant overhaul in the wake of Optus data breach

By Cameron Abbott, Rob Pulham and Stephanie Mayhew

Over the past two years, the Privacy Act has been the subject of long-awaited reform in Australia however, it seems the Optus data breach may have given it some much needed momentum.

The Optus attack is understood to have affected the details of 11.2m Optus customers, and of that 2.8m individuals have had their driver’s licence and/or passport numbers compromised. The hacker claims to have extracted the data from an API – software that allows two different systems to talk to each other. Therefore, if the claim is true the hacker didn’t need to provide authentication (e.g. a username and password) to retrieve the data.

In the wake of the attack, the Government has shared its plans to pursue substantial reforms that will include increased penalties under the Privacy Act (currently capped at $2.22m per offence) as well as changes to data breach notification laws to allow companies to rapidly inform financial institutions of affected individuals in an effort to minimise fraud.

The data breach also highlights the risks involved in collecting large amounts of personal information and storing this for excessive time periods. While the Privacy Act promotes the collection of a minimum amount of personal information, i.e. only that information that is necessary for a particular purpose and which the entity intends to use or disclose – individuals generally have limited control over how long their information is retained for.

During the initial stages of the Privacy Act review, the Attorney General’s Department sought submissions from entities on their views as to whether individuals should be given the right to have their personal information erased. Optus in submissions to the review argued against such a change stating that the right to erase personal data would involve significant technical hurdles and compliance costs that would outweigh the benefits. Of course this incident has happened just as stores are gearing up for Halloween – a fitting time for those public submissions to come back to haunt them.

Ransomware plan of action

By Cameron Abbott, Rob Pulham and Ella Richards

Following the 60% increase in ransomware attacks over the past year, the Department of Home Affairs has released a Ransomware Action Plan – proposing to introduce mandatory reporting requirements for companies who have been hit by a ransomware attack.

Under the proposal, companies with a turnover of $10 million or more per year will be required to inform the Australian Cyber Security Centre soon after experiencing a ransomware attack and will face civil penalties if they fail to comply. The government is also planning to introduce a standalone offence for cybercriminals who seek to target critical infrastructure as part of the Security Legislation Amendment (Critical Infrastructure) Bill 2020.

This document is part of Australia’s overarching 2020 Cyber Security Strategy, with industry and community consultation anticipated in the near future. Stand by for further developments.

Class action following ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline

By Cameron Abbott and Jacqueline Patishman

Last week we posted about a ransomware attack on the American Colonial Pipeline Company. This week, the Company has been hit with a class action alleging that a range of US businesses and consumers suffered loss as a result of Colonial Pipeline’s decision to cut its supply of fuel until the ransomware attack was resolved. Meanwhile, the Company is still not entirely back on track – Colonial’s main website is still offline.

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Continuing to take its Toll: Toll Group still feeling impacts nine months after experiencing Ransomware Attack

By Cameron Abbott, Keely O’Dowd and Max Evans

Back in February, we blogged about the large scale ransomware attack experienced by Toll Group.

IT News reports Toll is still “mopping up” the damage caused by these attacks. Since July, Toll has embarked on a year-long accelerated cyber resilience program incorporating teams in India and Australia which led to the appointment of former Telstra Asia Pacific CISO Berin Lautenbach as Toll’s global head of information security in August.

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First reported death connected to misfired ransomware attack on German hospital

By Cameron Abbott and Keely O’Dowd

News reports have surfaced that a woman in Germany has died due to a delay in receiving medical care. What is most concerning about this death is the circumstances in which the woman tragically passed away.

According to reports, the woman needed urgent medical treatment and the hospital she presented to, Duesseldorf University Hospital, was unable to admit her as it was dealing with a ransomware attack.

The hackers exploited a vulnerability in a widely used commercial add-on software. This attack caused a failure in the hospital’s IT systems resulting in it being unable to access data and diverting emergency patients elsewhere. The woman was redirected to a hospital approximately 30km away from Duesseldorf University Hospital, which led to a delay in the woman receiving treatment. Unfortunately the delay proved fatal and the women passed away before she could be treated.

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Cyber Criminals “King of the (Data Breach) Jungle”: 61% of all Data Breaches caused by Malicious or Criminal Attacks, according to OAIC Report

By Cameron Abbott, Keely O’Dowd and Max Evans

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) has released its report on notifications received under the Notifiable Data Breaches scheme for period January to June 2020.

The OAIC reported 518 breaches were notified to it in the relevant period. The OAIC noted a 3% decrease from the 532 breaches notified in the period July 2019 to December 2019. However, there was a 16% increase on the 447 notifications received during January to June 2019.

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Can It Get Any Worse? Travel Giant CWT pays $4.5 Million USD ransom to Hackers who Stole Corporate Files and Knocked 30,000 Computers Offline

By Cameron Abbott and Max Evans

In these unprecedented times, where travel around the globe is primarily halted as nations get to grips with controlling the outbreak of COVID-19, many would think it couldn’t get any worse for travel companies. However, they would be wrong, as according to an article from ITNews, American travel management giant CWT has reportedly paid a whopping 414 bitcoin, equivalent to a value of 4.5 Million USD (approximately 6.3 Million AUD), to hackers who successfully exfiltrated over 2 terabytes of sensitive corporate files.

According to the Article, the successful hackers used a strain of ransomware referred to as “Ragnar Locker” which places computer files into a virtual prison through encryption and renders them unusable until the victim pays for the keys. Then in CWT had to negotiate in a public chat forum to pay for the release.  It gives us a rare insight into the dialogue that followed. CWT negotiated the hackers down from their initial demand of 10 Million USD. According to the Report, whilst the hackers claimed to have stolen over 2 terabytes of files including financial reports, security documents and employees’ personal data, it was not clear whether any customer data was compromised.

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Twitter accounts of prominent figures hacked

By Cameron Abbott, Warwick Andersen, Rob Pulham and Keely O’Dowd

Reports have surfaced that the Twitter accounts of prominent companies, politicians and celebrities were compromised on Wednesday, 15 July 2020. Hackers were able to gain large scale access to the Twitter accounts of several prominent and influential US personalities and companies to promote a cryptocurrency scam.

It is concerning that the accounts of prominent figures were targeted and compromised. Given the level of influence and prominence several of those individuals have on social media, the hackers had the potential to cause greater havoc. On this occasion, it appears the hackers were financially motivated to perform the cyber attack by seeking “donations” via Bitcoin. The hackers sent out tweets asking people to donate Bitcoin to an address and the Twitter account holder would double the donation.

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D’oh! Beer company suffers cyber attack

By Cameron Abbott and Keely O’Dowd

On Tuesday last week, Lion Beer Australia announced it had experienced a cyber incident. During the week, Lion advised there was no evidence to date of any data breaches, but was still investigating the cyber attack. Investigations revealed Lion was subject to a ransomware attack. 

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A New Low: Red Cross subject to Fraudulent Claims for Bushfire Grants by Cyber Thieves

By Cameron Abbott and Max Evans

If you thought cyber attackers couldn’t go any lower, think again. Cyber thieves are tying up valuable resources at the Australian Red Cross through computer generated applications for bushfire relief assistance, according to an article from the AAP.

According to the article, cyber thieves are using applications to automate hundreds of fraudulent attempts to access financial assistance from the Red Cross, which is distributing grants of up to $20,000 per application with a total grant of around $1,000,000 per day. In one community, there were applications made in respect of 15 homes that purportedly had been destroyed by bushfires, but when physically checked remained unaffected. Go figure!

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