ACSC’s annual report reveals rise in cyber security attacks

ACSC’s annual report reveals rise in cyber security attacks

The ACSC Annual Cyber Threat Report 2020-21 has revealed that reports of cyber security attacks increased by up to 13 per cent compared to last year.  

The ACSC reported receiving over 67,500 cybercrime reports from July 2020 to June 2021 as criminals took advantage of the pandemic by actively targeting vulnerable Australians and health services to conduct espionage, and steal money and sensitive data. 

Ransomware-related cyber attacks have also increased to nearly 15 per cent compared to the previous financial year, with the health sector having the second-highest number of such incidents. This makes ransomware one of the most serious reported cyber threats due to its financial and disruptive impacts. 

Assistant Minister for Defence Andrew Hastie said that there should be a shared responsibility on lifting Australia’s cyber defences by implementing cyber security measures. 

“Malicious cyber criminals are escalating their attacks on Australians. We need all Australians to be vigilant by taking simple cyber security steps including using strong passphrases, enabling two-factor authentication, updating software and devices and maintaining regular data backups, as well as being on guard against malicious emails and texts,” Assistant Minister Hastie said. 

“Approximately one-quarter of reported cyber security incidents affected critical infrastructure organisations, including essential services that all Australians require, such as education, communications, electricity, water, and transport.” 

The Australian Government has introduced solutions that will help cyber and law enforcement agencies provide greater and more immediate support to the victims in the event of large-scale cyber security attacks. 

The ACSC has received over 1,500 pandemic-related cybercrime reports every month and removed more than 110 malicious COVID-19 themed websites with assistance from Telstra and Services Australia. 

“Through effective reporting and partnerships with foreign and domestic agencies, the ACSC was able to provide advice and assistance for over 1,630 cyber security incidents, and run 18 cyber security exercises involving over 50 organisations to strengthen Australia’s cyber resilience,” Assistant Minister Hastie said. 

“I encourage every Australian business, organisation and family to report cybercrime through ReportCyber and subscribe to the ACSC’s alert service to receive free vital advice – or even better – become a Partner of the ACSC.

This article was first published on Public Spectrum

Eliza Sayon
Eliza Sayon
Eliza Sayon is an experienced writer who specialises in corporate and government communications. She is the content producer for Public Spectrum, an online knowledge-based platform for and about the Australian public sector.