Security Market Segment LS
Monday, 18 October 2021 00:52

Cyber security experts say Australia ransomware action plan falls short


The Federal Government has released its ransomware action plan, but cyber security experts Claroty and Varonis say it falls short and needs greater commitment from the government.

Scott Leach, vice president of sales, Varonis Asia Pacific (APAC) said, “any time the Federal Government recognises the increasing risk ransomware poses to Australian organisations is a positive. However, there is still room for improvement in today’s Ransomware Action Plan. There are a number of actionable steps that the government could have included, with the aim of improving compliance in a range of industries. For example, the government could issue directives that encourage organisations to introduce a range of positive cyber security measures by a particular date, such as a Zero Trust approach and a strict policy of least privilege, which means employees are only given access to the files necessary to do their jobs.”

"These directives would have a significant and immediate impact on the organisations who adopt them. Restricting access to an organisation’s most sensitive files ensures that if a data breach ever does occur, the risk of attackers stealing these sensitive files and moving laterally throughout the network is significantly reduced. With little or no access to sensitive files, ransomware is significantly less effective, saving organisations thousands of dollars (if not millions in some cases) and taking the power away from hackers.”


Scott Leach

Lani Refiti, ANZ regional director, Claroty, stated, "Australia’s Ransomware Plan is a positive step for our critical infrastructure. The Federal Government release of the Ransomware plan is a positive deterrent for criminal groups who are thinking of targeting critical infrastructure. It's becoming more and more of a targeted sector, largely because ransomware groups know that the ransom will most likely be paid, such as in the case of Colonial Pipeline and JBS who were forced to pay to get their systems operational again.”

"The new disclosure rule for companies with a turnover of $10 million or more is a good compromise between the $3M turnover for the current Privacy Law Amendment and balances out the regulatory component while encouraging organisations to be proactive. On the flip side, it might make the SME sector, one of the most problematic to not take the Ransomware Action Plan as serious. It's always a balance between carrot and stick.”

"The newly introduced penalties for buying or selling ransomware is another positive deterrent without putting more regulatory overhead onto organisations. If we shift the 'cost' to the cybercriminals it reduces the overheads for the organisation's Ransomware Action Plan is seeking to protect. Overall the plan could be perceived as a bit narrow, as it focuses on just one aspect- ransomware. However, it is encouraging to see numerous initiatives rolled out by the Government to support the private sector’s cybersecurity efforts, which only complements the strategy. There will be those who say it's not enough, that's a bit like saying ‘how long is a piece of string?’”


Lani Refiti

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David M Williams

David has been computing since 1984 where he instantly gravitated to the family Commodore 64. He completed a Bachelor of Computer Science degree from 1990 to 1992, commencing full-time employment as a systems analyst at the end of that year. David subsequently worked as a UNIX Systems Manager, Asia-Pacific technical specialist for an international software company, Business Analyst, IT Manager, and other roles. David has been the Chief Information Officer for national public companies since 2007, delivering IT knowledge and business acumen, seeking to transform the industries within which he works. David is also involved in the user group community, the Australian Computer Society technical advisory boards, and education.

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