Following on the latest Medibank data leaks and backing their decision not to pay the ransom Australian ABC News reported that Cyber Security Minister Clare O'Neil said the government was considering a law that would make it illegal to pay such ransoms. "The idea that we're going to trust these people to delete data that they have taken off and may have copied a million times is just frankly silly," she told Insiders on Sunday.
O’Neil also announced the formation of a new Australian task force combing the expertise of the Australian Federal Police (AFP)) and the country's cyber spy agency, the Australian Signals Directorate, designed to "hack the hackers". Stressing that Australia must "shift away from the sense that the only good outcome here is someone behind bars", she said the main aims of the government would be to disrupt hacking operations and not allow Australia to be a soft target.
Ryan English, Cybrary Threat Intelligence Group (CTIG) shared his perspective on this new offensive focused group:
“Modern activists who fight to keep the World Wide Web neutral, don’t remember the history of the internet. Born out of a US Government project in 1969 to connect Research Labs, and then Military institutions and universities, the Internet has been a tool of war and espionage for as long as it existed.
In the 1986 book, “The Cuckoo’s egg,” Cliff Stoll documented an early case of West German-based hackers stealing national security secrets from the US government. It is certainly being used today by terror groups and criminal actors.
We have not found any success limiting criminal groups through diplomatic means. Governments realizing that to deal with the criminal menace, they will need to fight fire with fire signals an acceptance that the scourge of ransomware and other destructive attacks will not just fade away. I am a fan of retaliating in kind and hope this kind of wisdom makes its way to US shores.”