Calls from the Government for the country’s private entities to fortify cyber security.
As Australia prepares and calls to strengthen its cyber security measures, it was revealed in by a number of media publications that one of the country’s largest media companies – Nine Entertainment, had been hit by separate cyber-attacks.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald “the attack on Nine, which also owns this masthead, bears all the hallmarks of ransomware – where criminals encrypt a computer’s data to make it inaccessible and then demand money to unlock it. Only there have been no such demands”.
This is the most important time for companies like Nine during a cyber-attack. Negotiations may still be ongoing – either direct between Nine and the hacker or the cyber-insurance provider will have taken over – and all eyes turn to the company’s backup data, said James Wright regional director ANZ/Oceania at Rubrik.
“How that is stored – it could be a 24-48-hour turnaround for disc storage, or three-to-seven days for tape (depending on the amount of data involved) – and whether it’s a ‘clean’ copy and unaffected by the attack, will have a huge bearing on whether a ransom is requested and paid, and how much,” he noted. “This is also the time to get the network, firewall and other key systems back up.”
Wright said after what will no doubt be sleepless nights for both Nine’s IT and executive team, focus turns to prevention.
“We’ve learned from examples such as Toll Group that you’re unlikely to be targeted just once, and if you don’t take the time to shore up your systems following an attack, it all gets much worse,” he said. “That may mean re-evaluating the overall security posture, additional training for staff, penetration testing, an immutable backup solution, or more, depending on where the vulnerabilities lie. In many cases, the ability to be reinsured against cyber-attacks will depend on what decisions are made in this crucial stage.”
The AFR reported Assistant Minister for Defence Andrew Hastie, said organisations were getting better at coping with cyber-attacks.
“All kudos to the team at Nine, their tech teams caught the hack early and although it disrupted services yesterday, [they] managed to get the nightly news on and that was a great achievement,” Hastie said. “Government and businesses need to be doing it regularly [updating systems] and I know government certainly is, because we can’t afford to have our digital sovereignty undermined.”
The Minister also has responsibility for cyber security under the Defence portfolio and he recently called for strengthening of Australia’s cyber defences.
“My first priority is to keep Australians safe in both the physical world and online, and to do this I need everyone to listen to these warnings and follow the advice of the ACSC and strengthen our cyber defences,” he said.
In the same week SBS reported Australia’s Parliament House, the department of parliamentary services (DPS) email network was shut down over the weekend due to an IT system issue.
At the time Minister Hastie said the fault was linked to an external provider, with the connection to government systems severed immediately as a precaution.
“The government acted quickly, and we have the best minds in the world working to ensure Australia remains the most secure place to operate online,” he said.