Aust wealth lures cybercriminals: spy boss

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Australia’s cyber intelligence chief has warned of the “pervasive and endemic” threat cyber attacks pose to the country.

In the latest annual report from the Australian Signals Directorate, Chief Executive Rachel Noble outlined the challenges the country faces in cybersecurity.

“Cybercrime continues to be a pervasive and endemic threat to Australia’s economic and social prosperity,” she said.

“Ransomware is one of the most significant cybercrime threats facing organizations in Australia, with modern ransomware attacks becoming more sequenced and orchestrated.”

Ms Noble said cybercriminals follow the money and are drawn to Australia because of its wealth, high levels of online connectivity and growing demand for services through online channels.

These factors have made the country a profitable target for cyber criminals.

In the report, Ms Noble notes that Australia has been attacked by a “range of actors” via persistent cyber operations.

The agency observed an increase in the rate at which “malicious actors sought and then pivoted to exploit publicly disclosed vulnerabilities.”

Australian businesses have had to deal with the fallout from major data breaches, with the Optus and Medibank hacks being among the largest on record.

The Russian criminals behind the Medibank hack dumped a fifth installment of sensitive information on the dark web on Sunday, after the health insurer refused to pay a $10 million (15 million Australian dollars).

The scale of the breaches has prompted the Albanian government to introduce tough new penalties for companies that fail to properly protect their customers’ data.

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