Working from home during the pandemic has forced Australians to spend more time online – this caused cyber crimes to shoot up. Governmental bodies reported that cyber crime rates have increased 13% over the past year, with over 25% of all cyber crime incidents targeting infrastructure and services.
Every 8 minutes over a year to June 30, 2021, the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) would report one cyber crime.
According to the Assistant Minister of Defense, Andrew Hastie, hackers have diverted their focus to target citizens working remotely online and used fear inspired by the pandemic to aim for vulnerable people and health services to spy on them, and steal their money and sensitive data.
In addition, ransomware shot up by 15%, one of the main targets being the health sector. The health sector suffered the second-highest number of attacks. Ransom software encrypts the data of the target which leads the hacker to “offer it back” for a ransom. Usually, the hacker would provide the data with a passcode or “key” in return for cryptocurrency payments – the ransom – this could mean millions of dollars.
“Malicious cyber criminals are escalating their attacks on Australians,” Hastie said.
Last year in June, Australia accused China as being the main suspect in cyber attacks directed at the government, political parties and essential service providers. The government affirmed that Australia is being targeted by “sophisticated state-based cyber actor.” However, China denied all allegations.