How Australian companies can defend against ransomware

The “devastating” ransomware surge draws interest, calls for action at the highest levels of government.

ransom note
Jamie Eckle/IDG

The threat ransomware poses to Australian interests has grown sufficiently worrying that a new high-level government advisory paper on the subject attracted launch support from no less than federal Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton.

Designed as a how-to guide for businesses wanting to protect themselves from ransomware, the new guide—the first output from the recently formed Cyber Security Industry Advisory Committee (CSIAC) headed by Telstra CEO Andrew Penn—flags the confluence of a surge in phishing, ongoing poor cybersecurity within companies, and “growth in the proliferation of cryptocurrency which is hard to trace, making it ideal for ransomware demands.”

The rise of ransomware and double-extortion attacks

This perfect storm has put ransomware front and centre for companies of all sizes, Dutton noted, warning in releasing the paper that “cybercriminals continue to see Australian businesses as an attractive target and ransomware is a particularly disruptive form of cyberattack that can have devastating impacts.”

The CSIAC echoed these sentiments, noting that ransomware “has become one of the most immediate, highest-impact cyber threats to Australia”—with 61% of executives in a recent PwC survey saying they consider ransomware attacks likely in the next 12 months.

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