Russia’s Ukraine invasion pushes Aussie CISOs to counter heightened critical-infrastructure threat

Australian businesses are advised to review their security exposure as new legislation progresses—and an increased cyberattack risk looms.

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Concerns that cyberattacks could disable critical Australian infrastructure went from hypothetical to imminent virtually overnight, with security consultants recommending CISOs act rapidly as the Russian invasion of Ukraine revs up a shadow cyberwar and as cybercriminals threaten the critical infrastructure of any country acting against Russia.

Flying in the face of near-universal condemnation of Russia’s invasion, a public proclamation by the Contiransomware gang warned that it “will use our full capacity to deliver retaliatory measures in case the Western warmongers attempt to target critical infrastructure in Russia. … We will use our resources to strike back if the well-being and safety of peaceful citizens will be at stake due to American cyber aggression.”

Australia braces for cyberattacks

The threat to Australian interests was more than hypothetical as the country increased its support for Ukraine, committing $70 million worth of ammunition, antitank missiles, and other weapons to help it fight the Russian invaders.

That move came in the wake of Russian targeting of Ukrainian government sites and other organisations with ‘wiper’ malware, following on from a January 2022 malware campaign known as WhisperGate in an escalation that led authorities in the US, Australia, and elsewhere to warn about likely crossfire as further cyberattacks are launched.

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