Australian government authorizes authorities to seize blackmailed cryptocurrencies

Australian Home Affairs Minister Andrews said: “This tough plan aims to prevent international hackers from targeting Australian companies.”

Today, the Australian Federal Government issued a plan for ransomware attacks, requiring companies with annual income of 10 million Australian dollars and above to report to the Australian Cyber ​​Security Centre (ACSC) when they are subjected to ransomware attacks, otherwise they may face civil penalties. .

The plan also mentions that it will allow the Australian authorities the right to seize or freeze cryptocurrency financial transactions inside and outside of China that involve cyber-extortion crimes. According to Cointelegraph, the plan is that the Australian government aims to make existing legislation more in line with the cyber security situation, making it easier to recover encrypted funds stolen by cyber criminals.

In this regard, Australian Minister of the Interior Andrews said: “This tough plan aims to prevent international hackers from targeting Australian local companies.”

According to the Sydney Morning Herald report, at present, the Australian government has not further refined the penalties for violations, but expressed its hope to focus on education and assistance, rather than putting sanctions in the first place. It is expected that in the next few months, after discussing and negotiating with all walks of life in the industry, the specific details to be reported in the event of an attack will be worked out.

Andrews also added: “The scope of ransomware attacks has spread all over the country, and companies, individuals and infrastructure are their targets. ” According to foreign media reports, cyber attacks on Australian companies and national institutions surged by 60% last year. These intrusions The behavior brought 1.4 billion Australian dollars (approximately 1 billion U.S. dollars) in losses to its economy.

Recently, there have been an endless stream of ransomware attacks in Australia, including Uniting Care Queensland, brewing company Lion, Nine Entertainment, New South Wales Labor Party, Toll Holdings and other local Australian companies and institutions. Among them, in May this year, a hacking attack on the world’s meat processing company JBS Co., Ltd. forced it to close 47 sites in Australia, resulting in thousands of workers being suspended without pay.

In addition, Australia has also become the hardest hit for cryptocurrency scams. According to previous foreign media reports, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has revealed that as of the end of August, it has received 3,007 reports of cryptocurrency investment scams this year, with a total loss of 53.2 million Australian dollars, accounting for 55% of the total loss of investment scams. .

In addition to Australian companies, another favorite of hackers is American companies, which are also plagued by ransomware attacks. It is reported that also in May this year, Colonial Pipeline, the largest U.S. refined oil pipeline transporter, was attacked by a ransomware attack by the “Darkside” hacker organization, and finally paid the hackers a ransom of nearly $5 million in Bitcoin .

In early June of this year, officials from the US Department of Justice announced that 63.7 bitcoins from the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack had been recovered, which was valued at approximately US$2.3 million at the time.

According to Cointelegraph reports, malware such as REvil or DarkSide will steal or encrypt data as a threat and demand the victim to pay the ransom in the form of encrypted currency.

According to Temple University data, in 2020 alone, there were nearly 400 such attacks in the United States, extorting millions of dollars from institutions such as hospitals and local governments.

In this regard, US lawmakers are also stepping up their efforts to deal with ransomware. On Wednesday, the US Justice Department announced that it has set up a new “national currency encryption enforcement team” against “criminal misuse of encryption currency” . The department will investigate and prosecute criminal acts of money laundering and the use of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin in ransomware attacks. 

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