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Friday, 16 February 2018 11:17

Australia joins UK, US in blaming Russia for NotPetya Featured

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Australia has joined the UK and the US in blaming Russia for the NotPetya ransomware attack which hit Windows computers in a number of countries in June last year.

The UK was the first to issue a statement blaming Russia early on Thursday and the US did so overnight. Russia has denied it had anything to do with the outbreak.

The malware attack occurred on 27 June 2017 affected a number of countries, with the damage concentrated in Ukraine.

The ransomware, known variously as Petya (nomenclature given to ransomware that already existed at the time), NotPetya, ExPetr, Nyetya and GoldenEye, caused major issues at the US pharmaceutical company Merck, Russia's state oil company Rosneft, the shipping conglomerate Maersk and the UK-based advertising and public relations firm WPP.

A statement from Minister for Law Enforcement and Cyber Security Angus Taylor said: "Based on advice from Australian intelligence agencies, and through consultation with the US and the UK, the Australian Government has judged that Russian state sponsored actors were responsible for the incident."

Taylor said the Australian Government condemned Russia’s behaviour, "which posed grave risks to the global economy, to government operations and services, to business activity and the safety and welfare of individuals".

"The Australian Government is further strengthening its international partnerships through an International Cyber Engagement Strategy to deter and respond to the malevolent use of cyber space," he added.

"The government is committed to ensuring the Australian public sector, businesses and the community are prepared for evolving cyber threats."

Commenting on the issue, Steve Malone, director of security product management at email security firm Mimecast, said: “Investment in cyber resilience and continuity is critical for every organisation. The NotPetya ransomware highlighted the disruptive power ransomware can have.

"By encrypting and blocking access to files, ransomware can cause massive damage to critical national services and valuable business data.

"No matter the perpetrator of this attack, businesses must look forward and implement a cyber resilience strategy to avoid becoming the next victim. This should span beyond just security, and include continuity, remediation and recovery to ensure critical services can keep on running, even when the worst happens.”

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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