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04 June 2021

SENATOR KRISTINA KENEALLY
DEPUTY LABOR LEADER IN THE SENATE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR HOME AFFAIRS
SHADOW MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION AND CITIZENSHIP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY
SENATOR FOR NEW SOUTH WALES
 
TIM WATTS
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR CYBER SECURITY
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS
MEMBER FOR GELLIBRAND
 

MORRISON STILL HAS NO PLAN ON RANSOMWARE AS US EQUATES THE THREAT WITH TERRORISM

 
The Morrison Government must develop a comprehensive National Ransomware Strategy, as the US Justice Department announced overnight it will investigate ransomware attacks as a national security threat of a similar priority to terrorism. 
  
In stark contrast, the Morrison Government still has no plan to tackle this billion dollar scourge plaguing our nation. This week a ransomware attack shut down JBS Foods, the world’s largest meat producer, across Australia, North America, and parts of South America, forcing thousands of Australian workers to be stood down when its operations were paralysed and risking our food security.
  
With recent attacks on our hospitals, TV networks, political parties and now our biggest meat processor, ransomware is out of control. It’s a jobs and investment destroyer at the worst possible time. It’s time for the Morrison Government to act.
 
Despite this, at Senate Estimates on Wednesday we learned that the Australian Signals Directorate has not used its offensive cyber capabilities to hit back at the ransomware group that successfully attacked the Nine Entertainment. This inaction stands in stark contrast to Peter Dutton’s tough talk on cyber security.
  
In answers to Questions on Notice, the Australian Federal Police further confirmed they don’t even track the number of ransomware attacks on Australian organisations, and there has only been one prosecution for a ransomware attack in the last year.  Again, this contrasts with the specialist taskforce the Biden Administration has established within the Department of Justice to tracking ransomware attacks across the United States and centrally coordinate its response to the threat.   
  
Labor has been calling for a comprehensive National Ransomware Strategy that coordinates government action to reduce the volume of these attacks on Australia. But all the Morrison Government does is blame the victims.
 
The Morrison Government’s weakness and complacency in the face of this growing national security threat must end.  
  
It’s time the Morrison Government took the threat of ransomware as seriously as our major ally.  
 
FRIDAY, 4 JUNE 2021