ASIO say many cyber attacks go undetected

ASIO say many cyber attacks go undetected

Australia’s chief spy has warned businesses to be on the alert for cyber attacks and corporate espionage.

David Irvine is the director-general of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) and says many cyber attacks are going undetected by local security agencies.

This comes not long after $25 million was recently stolen from Australian credit cards by overseas hackers.  Company information, like planned investments and potential weak points of a business, were the constant targets of hackers, he warned.

He urged Australian businesses to be more proactive in protecting their company’s information. He said senior management needs to consider very carefully their security culture and assess the threat and potential damage if they don’t take action.

So far in 2012, more than 5000 cases of cyber attacks have been reported to the attorney-general’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT), Mr Irvine said. Yet these are only the ones reported. It is believed there are plenty more that have gone un-reported.

He also warned that cyber vandalism could have “significant social and economic impacts” on Australia.

For example, an attack on Australia’s telecommunication networks could halt electronic transactions made through banks.

He said he would be very surprised if they are picking up the greater proportion of  these attacks. He thinks quite the reverse. There is much more going on than there is within the resources of the agencies such as to identify, particularly in the private sector

On 17 August 2012, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) confirmed:

“It [AFP] is currently investigating a series of merchants whose individual computer systems have been compromised.”

“The compromise is believed to have involved approximately 500,000 credit cards and resulted in more than $25 million in fraudulent transactions.”

In a separate statement the AFP said, “As this operation is ongoing, it is not appropriate for the AFP to name the stores that have been affected.”

“Whilst banks and financial institutions are refunding all losses related to these data compromises, individuals and businesses are encouraged to be proactive in taking greater responsibility to strengthen and protect their personal and systems information.”