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Friday, 21 July 2017

The Australian Government has raised the stakes in its efforts to combat cybercrime, announcing that it will authorise offensive, as well as defensive, action against cyber attacks.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said “Given the growing cost of cybercrime to the Australian economy, the Government has directed the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) to use its offensive cyber capabilities to disrupt, degrade, deny and deter organised offshore cyber criminals. “The use of this capability, which is currently used to help target, disrupt and defeat terrorist organisations such as Daesh, is subject to stringent legal oversight and consistent with our obligations under international law.

“The use of offensive cyber capabilities will add to the Government’s crime-fighting arsenal and form part of our broader strategy to prevent and shut-down safe-havens for offshore cyber criminals.

“The recent WannaCry and Petya ransomware attacks have affected governments, businesses and individuals around the world.

“Cyber criminals continue to adapt and evolve their methods and tactics, increasingly employing new methods to gain access to a victim and extort funds. As their level of sophistication has improved, cyber criminals are increasingly targeting businesses directly.

“Our response to criminal cyber threats should not just be defensive. We must take the fight to the criminals.

“The Government will target criminals wherever they seek to hurt Australian citizens but every Australian has a role to play in ensuring our cyber security.”

He said the Government was committed to protecting Australians online and stopping cyber criminals. “Cybercrime is conservatively estimated to cost the Australian economy $1 billion a year,” he said. “Since its inception at the end of 2014, there have been over 114,000 reports of cybercrime registered with the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN).

“Notably 23,700 of these have been reported over the last six months, highlighting a growing occurrence of cyber criminal activity.

The Government also announced that a new information warfare division will be created within the Australian Defence Force to run both offensive and defensive cyber warfare operations.
Cyber security minister, Dan Tehan, said the new unit would help the ADF keep pace with modern security threats, as foreign powers like the US, Russia and China escalate their investment in digital forms of war.

The unit will be active immediately and will pull together existing cyber capabilities from across the Defence Force. "The division will have the responsibility for military cyber operations, military intelligence, joint electronic warfare, information operations and our military's space operations,” Mr Tehan said.

“It will integrate existing operations from across our defence forces to protect and support our ADF deployed personnel and systems."


Click below to view source

Prime Minister's media release: Offensive cyber capability to fight cyber criminals

SBS.com.au: New Australian military unit will specialise in cyber warfare

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