Deputy Prime Minister
Minister for Defence
The Hon Richard Marles MP
The Hon Mark Dreyfus KC MP
Minister for Home Affairs
Minister for Cyber Security
The Hon Clare O’Neil MP
Joint media release
The Albanese Government stands with all Australians who have been affected by recent cybercrime, and is doing everything within its power to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Today the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Signals Directorate will initiate an ongoing, joint standing operation to investigate, target and disrupt cyber criminal syndicates with a priority on ransomware threat groups.
This operation will prioritise targets based on the harm they can cause and the threat to our national interests. It will complement the work we do with our international partners and allies.
This operation will collect intelligence and identify ring-leaders, networks and infrastructure in order to disrupt and stop their operations – regardless of where they are.
The recent Optus and Medibank data breaches have shown the extent of the damage that can be done by malicious actors. This new joint campaign will ensure the full powers of the AFP and ASD are brought to bear to stop such incidents before they start.
Where incidents do take place, it means that cybercriminals will be hunted down and their networks disrupted. It sends an important message to criminals and hackers intending to do harm – Australia will fight back.
This builds on the work already being done to prevent and combat cybersecurity threats.
Ransomware is a global scourge and a transnational crime which requires coordinated international action to combat. From early next year Australia will also host a virtual international counter-ransomware task force as part of the global Counter-Ransomware Initiative.
This new international counter-ransomware task force will be hosted by the Department of Home Affairs Cyber and Critical Technology Coordination Centre, uniting key international stakeholders across government on effective solutions to counter the ransomware threat.
The international counter-ransomware task force 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.
In the next parliamentary sitting fortnight, the Government will aim to pass tough new privacy laws that will boost penalties for data breaches to at least $50 million. This will provide a strong incentive for companies and large organisations to do better to protect the data of their customers and prevent future breaches.