ACSC participation in Asia Pacific Computer Emergency Response Team

Ransomware poses one of the most significant threats to Australian organisations

The capability of leading economies in the Asia-Pacific region to respond to serious cyber security incidents has been tested through annual drills designed to lift cyber security cooperation and capability among members.

The drills are organised by the Asia Pacific Computer Emergency Response Team (APCERT), which promotes information sharing and technology exchanges on topics such as information security, computer viruses and malicious code, to improve computer emergency response capabilities.

This year’s scenario involved a pharmaceutical company having their systems and data held to ransom by cybercriminals with the threat to release sensitive information, including customer’s details, onto the dark web.

Head of the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), Abigail Bradshaw CSC, said the scenario was like what the ACSC saw accelerate during the COVID-19 pandemic and which has continued to this day.

“Ransomware poses one of the most significant threats to Australian organisations, our Annual Cyber Threat Report recorded a 15 per cent increase in ransomware cybercrime in the 2020-21 Financial Year.”

Sectors that hold sensitive personal information, such as the healthcare sector, were major targets for cybercriminals. The Australian health sector reported the second highest number of cyber security incidents both overall, and for ransomware-related cyber security incidents in the 2020/21 Financial Year.

“For cybercriminals, geography is irrelevant, they operate wherever there is an internet connection and will look for targets worldwide. That is why we need to work together across borders to raise the region’s cyber defences,” Ms Bradshaw said.

“Activities like the APCERT Drill are an opportunity to collaborate with international partners to help secure cyberspace through cooperation, trust and genuine information sharing.”

“As the region’s dependency on digital systems grows, we need to build and test our cooperation, so we are all well-prepared to respond to a cyber security incident.”

APCERT is the region’s largest cyber security community, made up of 33 cyber security emergency response teams from across the Indo-Pacific. The ACSC holds key positions as a member of the Steering Committee and several Working Groups, reinforcing Australia’s leading role in promoting cyber security in the region.


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