Ransomware attacks increasing in Australia.

Data compiled by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies shows Australia coming in at equal sixth place, along with The Ukraine, among the most hacked countries for cybercrime in the world. The US came in first place, followed by the UK in second place, India in third followed by Germany and South Korea.

Recently, the Australian Federal Government announced a $1.35 billion boost to cyber security after the latest attack which saw government and private sector networks crippled with Australian organisations quietly paying hackers millions in a ‘tsunami of cybercrime’. This ransom money has gone to criminal organisations and encouraged further attacks, creating a vicious cycle.

But this message is not being heard by Australian organisations, many of which remain complacent about the threat, in the belief:  ‘Why would somebody attack us?'”

To get a picture of unpublicised cybercrime in Australia, Crowdstrike surveyed  200 senior IT decision-makers and security professionals across Australia’s major industry sectors.

They found that two thirds of the Australian organisations surveyed had suffered a ransomware attack in the 12-month period to November 2020.

Of those that had been attacked, one-third — or 44 Australian organisations — had paid the ransom.

The average ransom amount was $1.25 million, the survey found.

In fact, the ransomware business model has become so sophisticated that some hacking groups are specialising in developing and selling the technology that other groups use to mount attacks. In other words, hacking groups have their own IT services industry.

Rachael Falk from the Cyber Security CRC (CSCRC) agreed, saying many Australian businesses are still “woefully under prepared”.

Her organisation is urging the federal government to develop a mandatory reporting regime for cyber-attacks.

Motivations

The main motivation for cyber-attacks remains money. On this score, many clubs believe they are not a high potential target, but activism and identity theft also rank as motivation for cyber-criminal groups. Due to frequent misreporting in the Australian media of gaming turnover data as profit, the public perception of casinos, clubs and hotels is that the businesses earn vast sums of money from gambling activity, they have good customer membership databases, and a negative perception of gambling may justify business disruptions. While the reality for most clubs is vastly different from the overall nationwide perception, these three motivations put clubs and casinos at significant risk from cybercriminals, with Bitcoin making ransom demands and money trails easier, and almost untraceable.

 Rachel Noble, director-general of the Australian Signals Directorate, (ASD) said the threat environment in the cyber world was deteriorating and that “there’s been a 60 per cent increase in ransomware attacks against Australian entities between this year and last year”.

The ASD is so concerned about the increased threats they are considering introducing regulations on some business types that will enforce company directors into having a legal duty to ensure a reasonable standard of cyber security – similar to how they are already responsible for workplace health and safety.

 

Safeguarding your business

In Australia, Secom Technology is a specialist IT company, focusing on hospitality industry IT security needs utilising the Untangle NG Firewall solution. This is a sophisticated and flexible app-based firewall solution that protects customer data in POS and gaming systems, includes intrusion protection that blocks hacking events such as ransomware and phishing attacks, allows for network wide usage policies even when staff and customers access the internet through your business Wi-Fi from their own devices, and is flexible enough to grow along with your hospitality business needs.

About the Untangle NG Firewall solution

Managing your network and ensuring every device is adequately protected can be a complex and costly task. Untangle’s NG Firewall simplifies network security with a single, modular, software platform designed specifically for businesses such as pubs and clubs with limited IT resources and budgets.

Untangle NG Firewall provides a browser-based, responsive and intuitive interface enabling you to quickly gain visibility into the traffic on your network. This includes a dashboard that attaches the reports your business requires as widgets for fast visibility.  From content filtering to advanced threat protection, VPN connectivity to application-based shaping for bandwidth optimization, the Untangle NG Firewall delivers a comprehensive, enterprise-grade network security platform.

Some of Untangle’s NG Firewall features include:

Safe and secure Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi is now the top amenity customers want. With Untangle, customers will have the convenience to safely go online wherever they are located in your venue. Basic Internet access can be provided for free, and if higher bandwidth is needed, tiered service offerings can be made available. For back-office operations, the system can prioritise Internet traffic for administration tools, point-of-sale and more.

Protecting purchases and customer information

Mobile payments, such as Apple Pay have become increasingly popular but as a small/medium business, network security is crucial. Untangle’s security solution ensures that businesses can provide customers with streamlined and protected purchases both online and in person.

Ransomware and virus prevention

Intrusion prevention blocks hacking attempts before they reach internal servers and desktops. Untangle’s pre-configured signature-based IPS makes it easier for administrators to provide 24/7 network protection from hackers. Modern malware threats target servers, laptops, tablets, and even mobile phones. While it is important that all of these devices have end-point protection—with the latest versions of software and virus signatures—you may struggle with control over these devices as they connect offsite to unsecured networks, then return to your network with malware on board. You need a first line of defence.

Firewall

Drawing the line that separates internal and external networks, Firewall filters traffic based on IP address, protocol, and port, which enables administrators to designate which systems and services (HTTP, FTP, etc.) are publicly available. Firewall can be run as a transparent bridge to complement a pre-existing firewall and allows you to control inbound and/or outbound access to specific IPs and ports.

Phish blocker

Identity thieves are becoming increasingly sophisticated with email and website spoofs that are nearly impossible to discern from the real thing. Phish Blocker protects users from email phishing attacks and fraudulent pharming websites.

Mobile policy enforcement

Mobile devices are inherently promiscuous, connecting via cellular and Wi-Fi networks that may or may not have sufficient security protocols in place. You work hard to keep threats off devices connected to your local network; be sure those same devices aren’t left exposed when they’re in the wild.

It can happen to any hospitality business that is not properly protected.

An average of 164 cybercrime reports are made by Australians every day — about one report every 10 minutes. According to the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), a subsidiary agency of the Australian Signals Directorate tasked with strengthening the nation’s cybersecurity, ransomware is quickly becoming the biggest threat for small and medium business with Australia seen as an increasingly wealthy and stable country in a post-pandemic world. The need to ramp up security is heightening as both local and international criminals use more sophisticated methods to gain money and data.

 

To investigate how Untangle NG Firewall can prevent these issues in your business contact:

Jason Drew

Secom/Sint – Phone:  1300 781 224