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Monday, 27 September 2021 12:10

FooForce CEO calls for simplified approach when reporting cyberattacks


Cybercrime victims need an organised national approach when reporting cyber attacks, according FooForce CEO Frances Russell.

Russell cites data from Australian Cyber Security Centre, noting that a cyber security threat was reported every eight minutes in the past financial year.

She laments that “hardly anyone knows who to call for help when cyber criminals attack.”

“The missing piece of the law-enforcement puzzle is an emergency number to report cybercrime that is the same no matter where you are in Australia, something similar to 000,” she says.

UPDATE: such a number does exist. The Australian Cyber Security Centre advises it operates a 24x7 ReportCyber line and call number, available at and phone number 1300 CYBER1 (1300 292 371)

“The cybercrime reporting system should be so simple that anyone can report a cyberattack,” she adds. “Cybercrime victims shouldn’t need specialist knowledge or be a technical expert.”

The ACSC latest Annual Cyber Threat Report revealed that the cost of cybercrime in Australia was $33 billion a year.

More than 67,500 cybercrimes were reported in the 2020-2021 financial year, an increase of 13% from the year before, the ACSC verified.

“Many small businesses and individuals aren’t even aware of the ACSC, so they are unlikely to report a cyberattack because they don’t know it’s even possible to report,” Russell says.

Russell emphasises it wouldn’t matter to the victims of cyberattacks whether the specialist cyber police was a dedicated national force or state-and-territory-based specialist police units.

“All crime victims should need to care about is that when they call for help that help is available.”

Victims need help, and when they call, help should be available.

Russell says small to medium sized businesses and individuals are particularly vulnerable to cyberattacks, adding that they don’t have resources dedicated for cybersecurity expertise on staff.

Russell, who has fought off more than a dozen cyber attacks in recent years, recalls that the experience of FooForce engineers revealed the rate and ferocity of cyberattacks were increasing.

She says some of the companies targeted are so small they can’t even afford to have a cybersecurity plan in place. But they do provide jobs, valuable services, and together constitute a major part of the economy.

“We have specialist police for almost every other category of crime. We need specialist cybercrime squads with a simple dedicated number they can be quickly reached on,” she affirms.

Russell concludes it was up to authorities how a specialist cybercrime reporting line would operate in practice and whether it should be part of the existing 000 emergency response service.


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