Australia has launched cybercrimes against offshore criminals, targeting those responsible for fraud related to COVID-19 outbreak.
Defense Minister Linda Reynolds said in a statement that the Australian Signal Directorate (ASD) had mobilized its cyber offensive capabilities to disrupt foreign cyber criminals behind a series of evil activities that have emerged from the global pandemic.
“Cybercriminals who use cyberspace covers and international borders to target Australians are not beyond our reach,” Reynolds said.
“We are retaliating through the Australian Signal Directorate, which has succeeded in disrupting the activities of foreign criminals by deactivating their infrastructure and blocking their access to stolen information.”
ASD has engaged telecommunications companies to block and delete websites identified as dangerous.
The Australian Cyber Security Center (ACSC) ASD also works closely with Google and Microsoft so that the website is flagged as dangerous, as a way to ensure users are warned about the site before they visit them.
With ACSC already issued some threat warnings and offerings advice for businesses and individualsASD Director General Rachel Noble said cybercriminals are expected to continue targeting Australians through dangerous activities with the theme COVID-19.
“Our cyber offensive campaign has just begun and we will continue to attack cyber criminals who operate offshore when they try to steal money and data from Australia,” Noble said.
“Close collaboration with telecommunications and IT companies is crucial in providing increased protection barriers for Australians from these callous cyber criminals.”
Since the beginning of March 2020, there has been a significant increase in cyber-themed COVID-19 activities throughout Australia.
Between March 10 and 26, ACSC received more than 45 reports of cyber crime and cybersecurity from individuals and businesses. All 45 cases were related to COVID-19-themed fraud and phishing activities.
“Cybercriminals are very opportunistic and we are seeing increased targeting of Australians through dangerous activities with a COVID-19 theme,” ACSC acting chief Karl Hanmore said earlier.
The ACSC suggestion says COVID-19 related to fraud and phishing emails is likely to increase in frequency and severity over the coming weeks and months, in part, because of the ease in which existing fraudulent emails and texts can be modified to contain COVID-19 themes.
“We are seeing some improvement in the COVID space, most likely the same cybercriminals are just trying to do the normal everyday work of stealing from all of us,” Hanmore said. “They are united under COVID-19 as the only thing they know we are all interested in now.”
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