4 must-know cybersecurity trends the AFP are monitoring

4 must-know cybersecurity trends the AFP are monitoring

Australian Federal Police officers respond to more than one thousand cybersecurity incidents a year – including attempted attacks on our critical infrastructure, said one of the AFP’s top officers. But that’s not the only area under threat. Organised Crime and Cyber Manager Cybercrime Operations Commander David McLean told the audience at CeBIT Australia 2017 the 2016 CENSUS DDOS attack is one of the many crimes under investigation. He said the CENSUS in particular was proving to be a challenging task due to the sheer volume of data that needed to be made sense of. He was quick to remind the crowd the attacks were in no way philosophical, “they’re very real,” he said.

While the agency is well-placed, Commander McLean acknowledged it’s a big challenge and responsibility to fight cybercrime and said it’s certainly a joint effort. The AFP team work in collaboration with intelligence authorities worldwide - ASIO officers are stationed within agencies such as FBI and Interpol to develop the skills to make an impact on cybercrime fighting back home. Despite this the Commander said some things are “never responded to because they simply outweigh the capacity of law enforcement.” He said the agency had not properly understood or been as responsive as they should have been in this sector – for example it was only 19 months ago that cybercrime was placed under the organised crime portfolio.

Through this and constantly working in the cybercrime space, the Commander told the audience about interesting trends in cybercrime that the agency had observed.

1. Cybercrime as a service

The dark web offers ready-to-buy hacking services, Commander McLean said. A growing concern is with school children buying these services to launch DDOS attacks on their peers who played online video games. While it may not appear crimes like these are truly malice, the potential to cause harm is there.

2. Business email compromise

Ransomware – it’s real and it’s impacting many Australian businesses. A survey of 115 organisations found 86% had experienced attempts to compromise and steal their data. Unfortunately business email is just one of the ways cyber criminals are attacking organisations. Commander McLean says the AFP is currently working with Interpol to tackle the issue.

3. Bulk information targeting

In the past high volume/ low value was the aim of the bulk information targeting game. Now AFP is seeing criminals moving toward obtaining bulk private information data and trying to monetise from that.

4. Mobile Malware

A newer trend popping up in the Australian consumer marketplace is malware attacks on applications. The AFP sees an opportunity to collaborate with the private sector to combat this issue.

Commander McLean wasn’t the only one who discussed the latest techniques being used by cyber criminals to steal our data. Cybersecurity expert Eugene Kaspersky also said critical infrastructure was one of Australia’s cyber weaknesses and warned Australians to remain vigilant.

To learn more download our guide, Cautionary tales: Cybersecurity and the Internet of Things. It takes a closer look at some of the most infamous cyber-attacks to help organisational leaders understand the biggest challenges in cybersecurity over the next decade, identify common cyber-attack source and prepare their organisations well enough so that they can survive a cyber-attack.


Cautionary tales: Cyber security and the Internet of Things