Australian cyber-attacks continue

Australian digital payments firm Latitude Group Holdings and intellectual property services provider IPH have both reported data breaches, as the wave of cyber-attacks continues to plague companies in the country.

At least eight major companies have reported cyber-attacks in the last few months alone, the largest being health insurer Medibank and Optus, the local unit of Singapore Telecommunications.

Latitude said personal information, including copies of drivers’ licences and customer records, of around 328,000 customers held by two service providers were stolen.

IPH said it had detected unauthorised access to document management systems, which handle administrative documents, and some client documents and correspondence, at its head office and two member firms.

The latest attacks follow that on The Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s  (CBA) Indonesian unit, PT Bank Commonwealth (PTBC), which last week said it had become the latest target of cyber criminals.

The incident involved unauthorised access of a web-based software application used for project management.

The bank’s Australian systems were also segregated from PTBC systems, CBA said, confirming that the unit’s services will operate as usual.

The latest attacks continue to serve to underline the cyber threat to a country which is stepping up its risk management measures, with the establishment of a second cyber security agency to coordinate the cyber security efforts across government now in the offing.

As previously reported by Emerging Risks, the new agency will be called the National Office for Cyber Security and will sit in the department of Home Affairs.

The government said it will also appoint a coordinator for cyber security to lead the new agency and coordinate its cyber security responsibilities. Australia already has the Australia Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) which leads the government’s efforts to improve cyber security and is part of the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) – an agency in the defence portfolio.

Indeed, cyber-attacks against Australia from criminals and state-sponsored groups have jumped recently, with a recent government report equating the assault to one attack every seven minutes.