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Defence issues new call for cyber action

The Commonwealth government has urged individuals and organisations to implement basic cyber security protocols.

The Commonwealth government has urged individuals and organisations to implement basic cyber security protocols.

Assistant Minister for Defence Andrew Hastie has called on Australians to update electronic devices to bolster their resilience to cyber threats.  

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Assistant Minister Hastie said upgrading basic device protections was akin to shutting doors and windows in a home.

“Cyber criminals are constantly taking advantage of gaps in security to steal data and money from devices we use every day,” he said.

“Software developers regularly issue updates for their products to plug these gaps when they are identified, as well as to improve functionality.

“Shut the door on cyber criminals by regularly updating your device software. Better yet, set up the automatic update feature so you don’t have to think about it.”

The assistant minister encouraged individuals and organisations to seek follow government-issued advice on how to update common software on Microsoft, Apple and Android devices.

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‘Updates’ have been selected as the theme in the Australian Cyber Security Centre’s ‘Act Now Stay Secure’ campaign.

This is the latest of several calls to action from government regarding the need to bolster cyber defences.

This follows an marked increase in reported cyber attacks, particularly in response to the COVID-19 crisis.  

Just last week, UnitingCare Queensland, which operates a series of nursing homes and hospitals across the state, was breached in an apparent cyber attack, which rendered the organisation’s internal systems unusable.

Rick McElroy, principal cyber security strategist at VMware’s security business unit, warned that Australia’s healthcare system is particularly susceptible to cyber attacks.

“The cyber attack across UnitingCare Queensland’s hospitals and aged care facilities highlights the vulnerability of Australia’s healthcare sector to cyber attacks,” he said.

“While the attack methods may vary, most cyber criminals are motivated by a financial incentive.

“Given the critical nature of data at healthcare organisations, they are often a prime target for attacks, as cyber criminals know patient care is on the line and organisations are more apt to pay.”

[Related: Cyber security firm warns of growing threat]

Defence issues new call for cyber action
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