Following a significant data breach at a local company, the Australian government is being urged to forbid the use of digital assets as payment for cyber ransoms. Crypto is at the heart of this argument.
Consumer lender Latitude Financial acknowledged a hack on their systems on March 16. Despite being served with a ransom demand, they bravely decided not to comply, raising concerns about the increase of these kinds of cyber attacks.
The government’s top cybersecurity organization, the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), advises against paying ransomware demands at any cost. The ACSC warns victims of such attacks against paying a ransom since there is no guarantee that the stolen data will be returned and not sold online.
Nearly 8 million Australian and New Zealand driver’s license numbers, 6.1 million customer records, 53,000 passport numbers, and 100 client financial statements were taken as a result of the cyber assault on Latitude Financial.
Despite the advice of cybercrime specialists, Latitude Financial has chosen not to pay the ransom, claiming worries that doing so might endanger their clients and the public at large by inciting other assaults.
Due to its ability to provide anonymity and facilitate international money transfers, cryptocurrency has become a popular payment option for ransomware assaults. Australia’s high level of affluence makes it an appealing target for hackers, according to the ACSC.
There is presently no legislation that forbids businesses from paying ransoms, despite the ACSC’s warning. The recent attack on Latitude Financial has spurred requests for new legislation to be imposed to make this conduct illegal from the Australian IT sector.
Clare O’Neil, the minister responsible for cyber security, is now examining whether ransom payments should be prohibited in Australia. This is in response to advice from Andy Penn, a former CEO of Telstra, who oversaw a review of the company’s cybersecurity policy.
Wayne Tufek, head of CyberRisk, contends that a legislative restriction on ransom payments will deter criminal activity since they would not anticipate receiving substantial quantities of money. Similarly, Andrew Truswell, director of the technology legal company Biztech Lawyers, supports the idea of passing laws that prohibits paying the ransom.
One example of the ongoing efforts to identify practical answers is Australia’s assessment of its cybersecurity policy and a prospective ban on ransom payments.
Given the huge stakes and more clever cybercriminals, it is obvious that cybersecurity will remain a top priority for all parties, including governments, crypto firms, and private citizens.