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Thursday, March 23, 2023

When Russia invaded, one group of cybercriminals was quick to pledge their support. Officials fear they may target Australia

An infamous ransomware gang known as “Conti”, which has previously carried out attacks on critical infrastructure in Australia, is causing concern among cyber authorities after the group joined the Russian government.

Conti recently said it supported Moscow’s actions in Ukraine and warned against launching attacks against the “enemy”, claiming responsibility for the cyberattack on Rio Tinto in Canada.

It was responsible for at least 13 cyberattacks in Australia last year, including attacks on critical infrastructure such as Queensland-owned energy company CS Energy.

Abigail Bradshaw, head of the Australian Cyber ​​Security Center (ACSC), said there has been a sharp spike in cyberattacks around the world both in the run-up to and after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“The level of malicious cyber activity affecting Australian networks has not decreased in terms of either criminal cyber activity or government activity,” she said during a parliamentary inquiry.

“We are increasingly concerned about both the activities of state actors and the ever-increasing number of so-called self-managed cyber vigilantes.”

A Woman Sits In Front Of A Sign For The Australian Cyber ​​Security Centre.
Ms. Bradshaw warned of the risk of cyberattacks.(ABC News: Mark Moore)

Ms. Bradshaw said earlier this week that there were about 20 groups “on the side of Russia”, but in just a few days that number had grown to 40 separate civilian hacker groups.

“Those organizations that have declared their support for Russia include two ransomware affiliates we saw in Australia: ransomware partner program Conti [and] an affiliate of Lockbit 2.0,” she said.

“As a consequence of this, we have directed ACSC and federal police support to critical infrastructure sectors, including classified briefings for critical infrastructure that we believe are most at risk.”

She noted that Australian authorities are in “hourly” contact with Five Eyes colleagues in the US, UK, Canada and New Zealand, exchanging intelligence.

World Nation News Desk
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