Australia’s Secretary of the Department of Home Affairs, Michael Pezzullo, has demanded that Russia crack down on the high number of cyber criminals operating in the country. Pezzullo made the statement at the AFR Business Summit in Sydney, noting that Russia’s cybercriminals pose a threat to Australia’s national security. He added that the density of cybercriminals, particularly those with ransomware, are in Russia, making it a challenge to apply conventional law enforcement disciplines. This statement comes as Canberra is reforming its cybersecurity policy after several cyberattacks on major Australian companies.
Pezzullo’s comments follow a rise in cyber attacks in Australia since late last year, with at least eight companies, including Medibank Private Ltd and Optus, reporting breaches. The Australian government is overhauling its cybersecurity rules and setting up an agency in Pezzullo’s department to coordinate government investment in the field and help coordinate responses to hacker attacks.
Meanwhile, the Russian government is reportedly considering legal exemptions for loyal hackers. Hacktivist groups, some with strong ties to Russian authorities, and others more loosely aligned to state interests, are bolstering the cyber frontlines in Russia’s war against Ukraine. Many of the latter are considered cybercriminals by the West, and even by Russian law. However, the Duma committee on information policy is considering the question of “liability” for such pro-Russian actors. The idea is still being fleshed out, but the move would mark an interesting evolution of Russia’s stance on hacking groups. Currently, Russian cybercriminals face up to seven years in prison.
Imagine if black hat hackers were able to work under the protection of their government? Scary thought.
I will keep you posted.
All the best,
Incognito Privacy Care Team.