Australia’s Government Hit By Another Cyber Attack

A cyber attack has targeted a large technology group which provides services to government departments in Victoria, with the hackers now believed to have stolen a significant amount of data. 

The PNORS Technology Group, which owns five companies providing a range of technology services to the Australian government and more than 1,000 other clients has confirmed an attack has been detected on two of its companies - Datatime Services and Netway Networks - which have directly affected the state government in Victoria.

The Victoria Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) said it was determining whether data held by the state had been exposed in the breach. PNORS said it immediately notified affected clients on November 3, contacted state and federal police and engaged external cyber security experts.

Cyber attacks against Australia from criminals and state-sponsored groups jumped last year, with a government report released recently equating the assault to one attack every seven minutes. The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) received 76,000 cybercrime reports in 2021 up 13% from the previous period.

It is the latest in a string of data breaches at high-profile targets going back over several years.

The Australian telecoms industry has been a focus for attackers and one recent ransomware attack may have resulted in data related to private communications between current and former Australian defence force members being compromised, with as many as 40,000 records at risk. The Defence Ministry confirmed that a dataset from ForceNet, a communications platform, may have been compromised after an attack on an external ICT service provider.

In the wake of high-profile data breaches, the Australian Government will introduce legislation that exponentially increases the financial penalties entities face for repeated or serious privacy breaches.
 
ABC;    Victoria Governor:   Reuters:    Guardian:   7News:   Australian Cybersecurity Magazine:  Bloomberg:

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