Australia unaffected but on alert after global cyberattack
15 May, 2017, 20:21
Australian businesses were reportedly affected by the so-called ransomware and the federal government is taking necessary precautions.
"The technology changes, the vulnerabilities change".
Cyber Security Minister Dan Tehan warned that there will always be threats of online attacks despite measures created to heighten the country's cyber security.
Last year, prompted by online attacks, the Turnbull Government outlined a $230 million cyber safety plan, which Tehan believes has offered a degree of protection for Australia.
The "malware", as it's known, was developed from software stolen from the US National Security Agency.
"When you have to shut down services at a hospital, and when your utilities are under attack, it is breeding a level of chaos that is concerning", she told AAP.
West Australian police echoed this message, advising people to update their anti-virus software and back up their important data.
Dr Dreyfus said Windows computers that don't have the latest security patches were vulnerable to the bug, urging Australians to ensure their antivirus software was up to date.
"Every institution, every consumer, every student with a laptop should make sure that their system is fully patched", she said.
The expert believes it is likely that some Australian organisations are affected by the cyber attack, but opt to keep it a secret because they don't want to instil a lack of trust in their system. "Because this would be nowhere near the global spread and depth of attack if people had run the updates that Microsoft had provided in March", The Australian has quoted her as saying. At least 16 British National Health Service organisations were hit by the attack.
British Prime Minister Theresa May has confirmed it is an worldwide attack and several countries and organisations have been affected.
More than 75,000 similar attacks have reportedly happened in 99 countries, with Russia, Ukraine and Taiwan hardest hit, according to the cybersecurity firm Avast.
Turnbull said that Australia's teams of cyber-security experts are continuing to monitor the situation closely and stand ready to deal with any threat to Australia's critical infrastructure.
Spanish telco giant Telefonica and U.S. delivery service FedEx were among the businesses affected.