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ASD cracks down on offshore coronavirus-exploiting cyber criminals

ASD cracks down on offshore coronavirus-exploiting cyber criminals

Working alongside telcos, Microsoft and Google

Credit: ID 160799419 © Sergey Khakimullin |

The Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) has taken a hard stance against offshore cyber criminals that abuse the coronavirus pandemic to target Australian businesses and households for illegitimate gains.

Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said that just because these attackers are located offshore, it does not mean they are out of the scope of the ASD.

“We are hitting back through the Australian Signals Directorate, who have already successfully disrupted activities from foreign criminals by disabling their infrastructure and blocking their access to stolen information,” Reynolds said.

“Some of these cyber criminals have even posed as health officials in an attempt to exploit vulnerable Australians, by infecting their computers with malware and stealing their private information.”

As part of the offensive measures, the ASD’s Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) is working alongside telecommunication companies in order to block access to malicious websites.

Additionally, there is also collaboration with Google and Microsoft to alert users when they attempt to access a malicious website via the companies’ respective browsers.

Rachel Noble, ASD director-general, added the COVID-19-themed attacks and scams are not expected to stop any time soon.

“Our offensive cyber campaign has only just begun and we will continue to strike back at these cyber criminals operating offshore as they attempt to steal money and data from Australians,” Noble said.

“Close cooperation with telecommunications and IT companies is vital in providing increased protective barriers for Australians from these heartless cyber criminals.”

This statement is the latest cyber scam update from the ASD and the ACSC. In March 2020, the ACSC released details of some cyber scams making the rounds, which include a payment relief scam, phishing emails purporting to be from the World Health Organisation (WHO), an international health organisation and a text message scam targeting Android devices.

There have also been phishing scams purporting to be from Telstra about a free streaming service  and targeted scams that contain a fake Microsoft Office 365 login page as well as a fake antivirus that claims to protect users from the biological virus.


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Tags asdAustralian Cyber Security CentreAustralian Signals DirectorateACSC

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