Monday, 23 January 2023
Media release

Australia leads global task force to fight ransomware

Australia will today commence the operations of the International Counter Ransomware Task Force to combat the scourge of ransomware. The Task Force sits under the US-led Counter Ransomware Initiative, comprised of 37 like-minded governments.

Minister for Home Affairs and Cyber Security the Hon. Clare O’Neil said the Task Force will enable sustained and impactful international collaboration, designed to disrupt, combat and defend against the increasing ransomware threat and called on other countries to join the collective effort.

“Ransomware represents a significant global threat, and Australia will continue to play a leading role working with international partners, industry and the community to develop effective responses to combat cyber criminals and protect our people and institutions,” Minister O’Neil said.

“Recent cyber incidents in Australia and around the globe are a stark reminder of the insidious nature of ransomware, and the ability of cyber criminals to cause widespread disruption and harm to broad sections of the community.”

The creation of an International Counter Ransomware Task Force was agreed to by members of the Counter Ransomware Initiative at a meeting in Washington in November.

The Task Force, chaired by Australia, will drive international cooperation 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.

“Ransomware represents a global threat, and Australia calls on other nations to be part of this global initiative to support effective detection, disruption and prosecution of cyber criminals who use ransomware for financial and other gain,” Minister O’Neil said.

“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.”

As chair and coordinator of the International Counter Ransomware Task Force, Australia has opened Task Force membership nominations to Counter Ransomware Initiative partner nations.

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, Ukraine and the EU.