Australia reported on Wednesday that cybercrime has increased by 13% in the past year, and about a quarter of the incidents targeted critical infrastructure and services, as working from home during the pandemic made more people vulnerable to online attacks.
The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) stated in its annual report that for the 12 months ending June 30, 2021, a cybercrime report will be received every eight minutes.
Assistant Secretary of Defense Andrew Hastie said in a statement that hackers have turned their attention to people working remotely online, and used the fear caused by COVID-19 to actively target vulnerable people and health services. Spying and steal money and sensitive data.
Ransomware incidents have increased by nearly 15%, and the number of attacks reported by the health department ranks second.
The working principle of ransom software is to encrypt the victim’s data, and usually hackers will provide the victim with a password or “key” to retrieve it in exchange for a cryptocurrency payment that may be as high as millions of dollars.
“Malicious cybercriminals are escalating their attacks on Australians,” Hasti said.
In June last year, Australia stated that it had become the target of “veteran national cyber attackers”, targeting governments at all levels, political parties, and basic service providers. Sources told Reuters that Australia regards China as the main suspect, but Beijing denies it.
In July of this year, the United States and its allies, including Australia, accused China of conducting global cyber espionage activities. Secretary of State Anthony Brinken called it “a major threat to our economy and national security.”
IDCare, which works with regulators to support victims of identity theft, said that ACSC’s data is only the “tip of the iceberg” because many victims have not reported to the authorities. The company said that compared with a record 2020, the number of complaints so far in 2021 has increased by 47%.
IDCare managing director David Lacey said: “Overall indicators show that it will not slow down, and it may increase.”
“For liars, this is a perfect storm. It is a condition for them to love and thrive.”
© Thomson Reuters 2021