Australia to Impose ‘Harsher’ Penalties for Ransomware Gangs

Australia to Impose ‘Harsher’ Penalties for Ransomware Gangs

October 15, 2021

The Australian government has introduced a set of rulings that seek to punish with stricter penalties for ransomware attackers. According to the Ransomware Action Plan issued by Australia, the measures come in response to the rising trend of such kinds of cyberattacks in the country, which had led to gangs profiting over $10 million yearly.

In fact, officials noted that threat actors hit a record in the number of attacks. “Ransomware gangs have attacked companies, individuals, and critical infrastructure across the country. Stealing personal and personal information as ransom money costs victims time and money and disrupts the lives and operations of small businesses. Our tough new laws will target these online criminals and target cybercriminals where it does the most damage – their bank balances,” Karen Andrews, Australia’s Home Secretary, stated.

A joint parliamentary committee already green-lighted the Ransomware Action Plan two weeks ago, arguing that there was enough evidence about the complexity of the ransomware issue across Australia. “Australia is not immune, and there is clear recognition from government and industry that we need to do more to protect our nation against sophisticated cyber threats, particularly against our critical infrastructure,” James Paterson, committee chair Senator, commented at the time.

Although the government mentioned in the paper the term ‘harsher penalties,’ it didn’t detail what would be the set of penalties to be applied on ransomware attacks.

Warning on Pump-and-Dump Schemes

Australia has also recently taken action against pump-and-dump schemes that lead to significant losses among investors in stocks trading. ASIC, the Australian financial market regulator, has infiltrated a Telegram group of investors earlier this week, posting a warning message that ‘coordinated pumping of shares can be illegal.’

After several coordinated posts on the group by the moderators, the watchdog sent the message about pumping the prices of some stocks. One of the group Telegram members lashed out that they were doing nothing wrong, and the regulator is wasting its resources on monitoring such a small social media group.

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