Cybersecurity plan to protect Covid-19 vaccine development

The Federal Government of Australia supports the release of the Joint Cyber Security Advisory by the US, UK and Canada.

This strategy targets malicious cyber activity by Russian actors targeting organisations involved in the development of a Covid-19 vaccine.

The joint advisory outlines an ongoing campaign by cyber actors against the government, diplomatic, think tank, healthcare and energy targets to steal intellectual property.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) said in a statement that Australia is concerned by any reports that malicious cyber actors are seeking to exploit the current pandemic for their own gain and emphasised that the targeting of Covid-19 vaccine development and research during a pandemic is completely unacceptable behaviour.

“The Australian Government calls on Russia to cease immediately any cyber activity, or support for such activity, which is inconsistent with their international commitments,” DFAT said.

“Australia, through the office of the Ambassador for Cyber Affairs and Critical Technologies, has registered our concern at the United Nations about malicious activity targeting health infrastructure. Australia's Cyber Cooperation Program is assisting countries in our region to strengthen their cyber resilience.

“The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) is working closely with organisations across Australia to help build their resilience to cyber compromises and is engaging with victims of malicious cyber incidents to offer cyber security advice and assistance.”

In May, the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) released a join statement regarding its response to bolstering the country's cybersecurity capabilities.

The ACSC, assisted by Australian law enforcement and industry partners, is working to disrupt and prevent Covid-19-related cyber activity.

The Australian Government has announced it is investing $1.35 billion to further enhance Australia’s cybersecurity capabilities and that the 2020 Cyber Security Strategy will be delivered in coming months.

“We encourage all Australian citizens and organisations to remain vigilant about cyber security threats,” DFAT said.

The ACSC is based within the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) and leads the Australian Government's efforts to improve cybersecurity.

Earlier this year, transport and logistics company, Toll Group, released updates on cyber attacks that impacted the business' operations.

In December 2019, Australian researchers claimed it would take a catastrophic event for cybersecurity to be taken seriously in the mining and resources industry.

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