Wednesday, 02 November 2022
Media release

Australia leads global fight against Ransomware

The Australian Government will convene and host a virtual international counter ransomware task force as part of the International Counter-Ransomware Initiative.

Minister for Home Affairs and Cyber Security the Hon. Clare O’Neil said the task force will be hosted by the Department of Home Affairs Cyber and Critical Technology Coordination Centre, uniting key international stakeholders across government to develop innovative solutions to counter the ransomware threat.

“The cyber incident involving Medibank Private is a blunt reminder that we need a globally focused capability to combat cyber threats, including ransomware,” Minister O’Neil said.

“I want Australia to be a global leader in cyber security, and the Australian Government will continue to join with international partners, industry and the community to develop effective responses to the complex issue of cybercrime.”

Minister O’Neil said she expects the task force to be convened early next year.

The ransomware threat extends across international borders, and I call on other nations to be part of this global initiative to support effective detection, disruption and prosecution of malicious cyber actors who utilise ransomware for financial and other gain.

The taskforce will drive international cooperation and joint efforts to tackle ransomware including through information and intelligence exchanges, sharing best practice policy and legal authority frameworks and collaboration between law enforcement and cyber authorities to conduct counter ransomware activities.

“This international task force will enable sustained and impactful collaboration between international agencies to disrupt, combat and defend against the scourge of ransomware,” Minister O’Neil said.

Countering Ransomware Initiative members agreed to the establishment of the task force at the second Counter Ransomware Initiative summit in Washington this week.

“The summit was an opportunity for like-minded governments to build effective networks to counter the scourge of ransomware, toughen cyber resilience within the community and bring ransomware criminals to justice.

“Our new Cyber Security Strategy will be looking at further ways to harden our nation so Australia becomes an unwelcome operating environment for cyber criminals,” Minister O’Neil said.

“We will also be calling for continued international cooperation and coordination through joint operations and forums like the Counter Ransomware Initiative Summit to enhance shared capabilities to detect, disrupt, investigate and prosecute malicious cyber actors.”

The members of the Counter Ransomware Initiative are: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Lithuania, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, Republic of Korea, Romania, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, and Ukraine, and the EU.

You can read more about the Countering Ransomware Initiative and the Summit.