News and alerts
ACSC 2016 Threat Report
This report provides an insight into what the Australian Cyber Security Centre's (ACSC) member organisations have been seeing, learning and responding to; with a focus on specific areas of change or new knowledge.
Importantly, the report also contains mitigation and remediation advice to assist organisations to prevent, and respond to, cyber threats.
Read or download the full report.
Stay Smart Online Week 2016
This year's Stay Smart Online Week, held from 10-14 October, was a great success. The theme, 'cyber safety from the lounge room to the board room', brought to light how individuals' online behaviours in their personal life can impact their workplace; and how there is a need for organisations to engage with their employees on online security awareness.
The week showcased over 50 Stay Smart Online partner events and activities, and included an official opening by the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Cyber Security, the Hon Dan Tehan.
Three new resources were also launched during the week:
Small Business Guide – a useful resource for small business customers and suppliers.
My Guide – key steps for individuals and employees to stay safer online.
Security Awareness Implementation Guide – containing tips on how to raise employee awareness for businesses of all sizes and maturity.
The 2016 Stay Smart Online awareness week attracted almost 2,000 new subscribers to the free Alert Service and content reached over 220,000 on Facebook, among other highlights.
While the awareness week was a great success, online safety and security needs to be top of mind throughout the year.
CERT Australia encourages organisations to partner with Stay Smart Online to promote online safety and security to their employees, customers and supply chain. To learn more about how your organisation can get involved, visit the Stay Smart Online website or follow Stay Smart Online on Facebook.
Scam alert: Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) themed extortion attempts - 02 May 2016
CERT Australia is aware that Australian organisations have recently been targeted by scam emails which threaten a DDoS attack unless a bitcoin ransom is paid. Potentially, a DDoS attack could not only disrupt a company's online activities via its website, it could also stop clients from doing business with the company online.
The characteristics of this DDoS extortion campaign are:
the email appears to be from the "Armada Collective" or "Lizard Squad" group
it demands a bitcoin payment by a certain date to avoid a DDoS attack
there is the possibility of a small DDoS demonstration
sometimes a second email is received giving an extension to the time
no DDoS attack occurs once the payment deadline has expired and no payment has been made.
Although there is currently no evidence in Australia that there is any capability to follow through on the threats, it is important to protect your organisation from this type of activity. CERT Australia recommends:
do not respond to any extortion emails and do not pay the ransom
advise your upstream providers and/or DDoS protection providers of any DDoS threats
prepare by engaging a DDoS mitigation service and/or provision a high availability network architecture
ensure you have an incident response plan in place and that it is tested
report identified activity to CERT Australia via firstname.lastname@example.org or 1300 172 499.
Australian Government releases Cyber Security Strategy - 21 April 2016
After 18 months of intense consultation across business, government and academia, the Australian Government has launched Australia's Cyber Security Strategy.
The Strategy sets out a national approach to meeting what the Prime Minister identifies as 'the dual challenges of the digital age – advancing and protecting our interests online.'
This Strategy establishes five themes of action over the next four years to 2020:
1. A national cyber partnership
2. Strong cyber defences
3. Global responsibility and influence
4. Growth and innovation
5. A cyber smart nation
Under the Strategy the Australian Government will increase the capacity of CERT Australia to work with Australian businesses across these core areas.
More detail, including the full report, is available from the Cyber Security Strategy website.
Scam alert: HR departments targeted for sensitive employee details - 11 March 2016
CERT Australia is aware that over the past two months, at least three major international organisations have been targeted by a new phishing scam which seeks to expose sensitive employee information.
The phishing email, which appears to be from the CEO or executive of an organisation, is sent to the Human Resources department requesting the organisation’s personnel details.
The scam presents as a significant risk to employee’s personal information as personnel data contains names, addresses, wage amount, tax file number and health care information and could be used for identity theft or tax fraud.
Although there have not been any reported instances of the scam in Australia, it is highly likely businesses will be targeted in the future. In order to protect your organisation and employees against these attacks, CERT Australia recommends:
- inform your Human Resources and payroll staff of the scam and encourage employees to remain vigilant with regard to bulk requests for staff information
- remain wary of the information that is posted to social media and company websites which can be abused, including job duties/descriptions, organisation structures and out of office information
- ignore unsolicited or suspicious emails and forward them for review by your IT security team
- ensure your email security is set to prevent sender address forgery, in order to implement this, more information can be found here
- Report identified activity to CERT Australia via email@example.com or 1300 172 499.
Cyber Security Surveys
ACSC 2015 Cyber Security Survey: Major Australian Businesses
This is the first Cyber Security Survey conducted by the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) to better understand the cyber security posture and attitudes across some of Australia's systems of national interest.
Industry data was collected from major Australian businesses that partner with CERT Australia. These businesses underpin the social and economic welfare of Australia by delivering essential services such as banking and finance, defence industry providers, communications, energy, resources, transport and water.
This survey follows on from the previous CERT Australia Cyber Crime and Security Surveys:
- 2013 Cyber Crime and Security Survey
- 2012 Cyber Crime and Security Survey
Speeches, interviews and articles
Responding to a cyber incident: CERT Australia, Behind the Dot, February 2016
Interview with Dr Jason Smith, Technical Director at CERT Australia about CERT Australia’s work, how serious the problem of cyber security is, what it costs and what businesses should do if they are the victim of a cyber incident.