Australia Affected By Global Ransomware Attacks
New Petya Ransomware Attacks Global Law Firm

Australia Affected By Global Ransomware Attacks

By Cameron Abbott and Ling Zhu

Despite Australia seemingly avoiding the brunt of the attacks by the WannaCry ransomware crippling computer systems around the world last month, a few Australian organisations have not emerged unscathed.

Victoria Police has revealed 280 speed cameras around Victoria were exposed to WannaCry between June 6 and June 22. Although the cameras were not connected to the internet, the ransomware was unintentionally introduced to the system through a USB device during maintenance. The police reported that the ransomware caused the cameras to continually reboot, however it is unclear whether this resulted in inaccurate readings. Initially, only 55 speed and red-light cameras were thought to be infected, however that has since increased to 280 cameras. Subsequently, 1,673 infringement tickets will be withdrawn, with another 5,500 pending tickets to be embargoed. Now don’t get excited and start drag racing – the police intend to continue operating the cameras, with embargoed and new tickets to be issued once they confirm that cameras are taking accurate readings.

Meanwhile in Hobart, Cadbury chocolate factory has stopped production following its parent company, Mondelez International, being affected by the similar “Petya” ransomware. The US-based Mondelez International suffered a global IT outage overnight, with all network computers being infected. Australian workers were unable to begin production in the Cadbury factory on June 28, as many processes are automated and controlled by computers. It is uncertain when the global system will be restored.

Now speed cameras is one thing, but affecting chocolate production is way out of line!

A reminder that both WannaCry and Petya exploit vulnerabilities that have been patched – you just have to load those security releases. A call out to all the chocolate producers of the world – load your patches for the sake of us all!

New Petya Ransomware Attacks Global Law Firm

By Cameron Abbott and Edwin Tan

Just a month after the WannaCry ransomware infected devices around the globe, a new strain calling itself Petya has struck overnight. Petya looks and operates the same way as WannaCry, locking out users from their systems and demanding a ransom of US$300 in order to decrypt files stored on the device. To spread across devices, Petya utilises exactly the same vulnerability used in WannaCry, patched by Microsoft in March 2017.

Organisations in Europe have been the worst hit, with the ransomware slowly spreading to the United States, and to Australia this morning as organisations boot up their computers. The Prime Minister of Ukraine has called the attack on his country “unprecedented”, with the government’s computer network going down, and the state power distributor being disrupted.

A global law firm has also been hit by Petya, with its offices in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and the US all affected by the attack. This continues a worrying trend of law firms being breached as of late, potentially exposing thousands of clients to commercial and legal risk.

We cannot emphasise enough the importance of keeping all devices and systems patched and up-to-date. Unfortunately, it seems that organisations around the globe, even those professing to be experts in cybersecurity, are still unprepared to deal with cyber-attacks and mitigate their risks.

The UK National Cyber Security Center has released guidance to help both home users and organisations limit the impact of ransomware attacks. It can be read here.

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