Authorities have revealed a massive cyber attack.
Authorities have revealed a massive cyber attack.

Australians caught up in global cyber attack

AUSTRALIAN companies have been hit in a massive global cyber attack by Russian hackers that has also affected the United States and Britain.

Authorities confirmed this morning that a "significant number" of Australian organisations were hit in the 2017 attack, which used commercially available routers to find vulnerabilities in networks.

The US, UK and Australian Governments have condemned the "malicious" attack after intelligence agencies determined that Russian state-sponsored actors were responsible.

Authorities believe that while Australian businesses were targeted, no information was actually compromised.

Cyber Security Minister Angus Taylor said the incident was "unacceptable".

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Australian Minister for Cybersecurity Angus Taylor. Picture: AAP/Lukas Coch
Australian Minister for Cybersecurity Angus Taylor. Picture: AAP/Lukas Coch

He called on Russia and all countries not to take action that could damage critical infrastructure which provided services to the public.

"Commercially available routers were used as a point of entry, demonstrating that every connected device is vulnerable to malicious activity," Mr Taylor said today.

"This attempt by Russia is a sharp reminder that Australian businesses and individuals are constantly targeted by malicious state and non-state actors, and we must maintain rigorous cyber security practices."

British authorities said that "millions" of routers had been targeted, while warning that the machines could be used for future cyber attacks.

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"They could be pre-positioning for use in times of tension," chief executive of the British Government's National Cyber Security Centre, Ciaran Martin, said.

A US Department of Homeland Security also said authorities did not have full insight into the scope of the compromise yet.

The Australian Cyber Security Centre has contacted relevant Australian organisations, including through their internet service providers, to provide mitigation strategies.

Further information for businesses on how to strengthen vulnerable devices is available on the ACSC's website at https://acsc.gov.au/news.html

Minister Taylor is currently in America meeting his White House counterpart Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, and senior cyber officials including at the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

He said a strong alliance between Australia and the US was "crucial" to prevent and develop strong defences to state-sponsored cyber incidents.



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