Cybersecurity experts warn that Australia remains vulnerable to catastrophic ransomware attacks until higher levels of online protection are consistent across major services such as hospitals.
Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts a victim’s files before the attacker demands a ransom from the victim to restore access to the data.
It has become a multi-billion dollar online criminal enterprise worldwide. In particular, a ransomware attack that shut down the Colonial Pipeline for six days last week.
The Colonial Pipeline runs 8850 km of oil from Texas to New Jersey, perhaps the most important oil pipe in the United States, and its closure has caused hoarding and turmoil on the East Coast.
CNN reported that it paid a ransom to the cybercriminal group responsible for the attack because the Colonial Pipeline tried to obtain the stolen information, but the amount was unknown.
Suelette Dreyfus, a lecturer in computing and information systems at the University of Melbourne, said a similar incident in Australia was not out of the question.
Dr. Dreyfus said there is room for improvement in cybersecurity in key services and organizations. Working from home, especially with COVID-19, dramatically increases the amount of time Australians spend online.
“Australian organizations have recently strengthened cybersecurity, but attacks could succeed and disrupt services until the country as a whole reaches high levels,” she told NCA NewsWire.
Luis Colons, an online expert at a global security company AvastSaid that a ransomware attack could cripple the world’s industry.
“When the WannaCry ransomware spread in May 2017, infecting more than 200,000 PCs around the world and costing hundreds of millions and billions of dollars, ransomware attacks are global. It’s been a big hit, “he said.
“WannaCry was very successful because it was spread as a worm by exploiting the existing Windows vulnerability MS17-010, which many companies and consumers had not patched.
“It’s realistic that a ransomware epidemic like 2017 could reoccur, and if a threat was created with worm-like abilities, it could have even worse consequences than WannaCry. “
Corrons said hospitals have become Australia’s primary target, especially after the attack on elderly and disabled care providers Uniting Care Queensland last month.
An attack by the Sodinokibi / REvil ransomware gang on April 26 has rendered many IT systems used in group-run hospitals and geriatric care facilities inoperable.
“Hospitals, medical companies, public service organizations, universities, and large industrial organizations can be vulnerable, and in recent months we have already seen this type of attack on medical institutions such as UnityCare Queensland and NSW State Transit Authority. “Corrons said. Said.
“Attack on such organizations shows that cybercrime is no longer affecting the digital world, but to public life as well.
“Today’s main threat is the profitability of today’s ransomware attacks. The millions of dollars they earn are attracting more cybercriminals. These attacks vary around the world. We are targeting companies of all kinds in the industry. “
Dr. Dreyfus encouraged Australian organizations and businesses to raise the bar on cybersecurity.
“(Cybersecurity can be overwhelming), but in reality, with just a handful of very simple improvements, you’ll get 80% of the way to that point,” she says. I did.
“This is especially true for companies that lose a lot of data if they lose it.”
Australian hospitals and universities need enhanced cybersecurity: online experts
Source link Australian hospitals and universities need enhanced cybersecurity: online experts