Cyber-attacks on local, state and Cwth governments ‘on the rise’

Cybercrime reports to the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) in 2020-21 were up nearly 13 per cent on the previous financial year.

Commonwealth, state, territory, and local governments accounted for 35 percent of these incidents, ACSC said in its annual Cyber Threat Report released this month.

About one-quarter of reported cyber security incidents affected critical infrastructure organisations, including essential services such as education, health, communications, electricity, water and transport.

The ACSC also recorded a 15 percent increase in ransomware cybercrime reports in the 2020-21 financial year.

Its report said the increase in the volume of cybercrime reporting equates to one report of cyber-attack every eight minutes compared to one every 10 minutes last financial year.

It cautioned, however, that the high reporting frequency of government agencies is in part due to their obligation to report significant cyber security incidents to the ACSC – and may not necessarily reflect an increased susceptibility of these networks to cyber incidents when compared with industry.

The ACSC offers several initiatives, exercises, and resources to local government entities to help them improve their cyber security posture, including its Cyber Hygiene Improvement Programs (CHIPs).