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‘Cyber-crime is now big business’: defence minister

We just brought you the cybersecurity minister, Clare O’Neil,’s comments on ABC News following the release of the cybercrime report.

Her colleague the deputy prime minister and defence minister, Richard Marles, has been on radio also responding to the increase in malicious cyber activity.

What’s his take on what’s driving the increase?

In part we’re living more of our lives online. The pandemic has accelerated that.

Cybercrime is now big business. The average impact for small businesses is $40,000 per incident so you can say that there’s a lot of money to be made by cyber criminals.

We’re also seeing more state-based actors now that’s in a sense out in the open with the war in Ukraine with Russian malware attacks on Ukraine, but they’re not the only state actors.

In the murky grey world that is cyber space, we’re seeing a lot of cross pollination between state actors and cyber-criminals and all of this is giving rise to a much more precarious environment online for all of us.

22 emergency flood warnings across NSW

Government has not made a decision whether families of IS fighters could be repatriated to Victoria

O’Neil’s response to whether the families repatriated from Syria are being monitored:

You would understand it would be ridiculous for me to talk about the operational ways in which this matter is being handled. I say to viewers, these are difficult things.

The same considerations applied in 2019 when the Coalition did the same thing, as has done the governments of Canada, the US, Denmark, the Netherlands and many other countries. They are difficult problems, we handle them calmly and methodically.

She’s asked about when the next group will arrive and if they will be coming to Victoria:

We haven’t made a decision about that. I will be transparent about those details if further decisions are made.

Opposition’s ‘politicking’ on Syrian repatriation ‘disgraceful’: O’Neil

O’Neil, who is also the home affairs minister, is asked about the first group of families of Islamic State fighters repatriated to Australia last weekend who have been settled in western Sydney.

ABC News asks the minister about concern by local mayors and residents about the potential security threat posed by these families.

These are sensitive and difficult issues. What I would say is that we are acting on national security advice here. One of the things that hasn’t been properly discussed here is the risk to Australia if we do nothing.

The truth is we have got a relatively large group of Australian children who would otherwise be growing up in a camp where a key focus and influence on their life is violent ideology and I don’t think that is good for the country.

I understand the concerns. I do want to say, the politicking that is going on from the opposition leader is disgraceful. It is rank hypocrisy because the Liberals did exactly the same thing in 2019, repatriated a group of people from these camps. For some reason they are now saying this is not appropriate to do. People are sick of this kind of politics.

National security matters are handled sensitively and delicately and calmly. That is how we have conducted this exercise.

‘I want the corporate sector to step up and do better’: cybersecurity minister

O’Neil says she doesn’t want to get into “a running commentary” about whether Medibank handled the data breach better than Optus.

We have a big task across the business community to lift our standards.

O’Neil is asked if she still believes the Optus breach was a basic hack:

I have made my comments very clear on the public record. Most cyber attacks aren’t particularly sophisticated. I expect Australian companies to comply with good standards and they owe a duty to Australians whose data they hold to make sure that they do.

O’Neil is asked if she is unhappy with the way Optus have handled this because it has effected millions of people:

It has caused enormous hassle for a lot of people. I am grateful that we don’t have evidence of financial crimes to date. To big businesses around this country, you have got obligations to Australians, especially if you are collecting and keeping personal information about your customers. I want the corporate sector to step up and do better.

Cybercrime represents ‘core national security focus’: cybersecurity minister

O’Neil says that cybercrime forms part of a changing global landscape with the war in the Ukraine and “threats in our region.”

Cyber is going to be a core part of this.

She says the threat goes beyond fraud and scam texts.

It’s not just about the frauds or the texts you or I might receive, but real issues around the security of our country going forward.

This is a core national security focus of our government.

Russia and China ‘specific states’ allowing cybercrime to occur: minister

Natasha May now on deck with you!

The minister for cyber security, Clare O’Neil, has been speaking to ABC News following the release of the Australian Cyber Security Centre’s annual threat report.

The report showed a surge in cybercrime as the agency is receiving a report every seven minutes, compared to one every eight minutes the year before.

Since that report was completed, O’Neil says the breaches at Optus and Medibank are the “two largest cyberattacks in Australian history that have effectively happened within a month of each other”.

O’Neil says that the threat is coming from a number of factors but among those:

We are seeing actors in specific states where effectively governments are allowing criminal conduct to go on.

The report shows “Russia and China are in the mix”, O’Neil confirms. However, she says it is a global threat.

As a country we really need to step up our efforts.

Forbes and Wagga on flood watch as waters rise

With more than 100 emergency warnings, regional NSW towns from Forbes to Wagga Wagga are bracing for floodwaters to rise even as blue skies appear.

The Murrumbidgee River has also burst its banks, with major floods peaking overnight and evacuation orders for Wagga Wagga in place.

Major flooding is also occurring at Gundagai, with river levels now higher than April 1989 floods.

Moderate flooding continues at Narrandera, with major flooding possible early next week. It’s a similar scenario for Darlington Point as more water rises overnight.

In the wheatbelt town of Forbes in the state’s central west, some 600 people were told to evacuate their homes by 4pm on Thursday as rising waters threaten to cut off properties and strand residents.

Cattle farmer Charles Laverty was busy sandbagging his property on the outskirts of Forbes with about one third of his paddocks already underwater.

Continued flooding has hit inland communities hard, as farmers struggle to recover from repeated bouts of destruction to crops and livestock.

“A lot of [my neighbours] have given up on harvesting those areas, which is very expensive,” Laverty said. “The losses are going to be devastating for them.”

Record flooding is forecast in Forbes on Friday night when the Lachlan River is expected to peak, NSW SES Zone Commander Ben Pickup said.

He said peaks would continue through to Saturday morning.

“I really encourage the community of Forbes – please listen to the warning information,” he said.

Major flooding on the Lachlan River on Thursday is causing inundations in the town of Nanami. Major flooding continues further downstream at Condobolin, with the river not expected to fall for weeks.

– Australian Associated Press

A report by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia today says that women are ending up in prison at increasingly higher rates compared with men, resulting in huge costs to society and the economy.

If prison populations and costs continue to increase at the same rate, Australia will be spending at least $1.6bn extra each year on its prison system by 2030, pushing the annual bill to taxpayers above $7bn.

Although fewer women are incarcerated than men, the female prison population has grown by more than 60% in the past decade, compared with a 45% increase in the male population.

Read our full report here:

Welcome

Good morning and welcome to our rolling news coverage. Natasha May will be here shortly to take you through the day’s events, but first let’s catch up with what’s been breaking overnight.

Major regional towns in New South Wales including Forbes and Wagga Wagga are on flood alert as rivers peak, even though rain has subsided.

Cybercrime is posing an increasing thereat to Australian organisations, businesses and households, according to a new report by the Australian Signals Directorate. It warns that cyberspace is becoming the world’s new “battleground” and that it is increasingly becoming the “new domain” for warfare, citing hacking attacks by the Russi and and Chinese states in recent years. Here’s our take on what’s sure to be a big talking point this morning.

One you might have from last night is that federal treasurer Jim Chalmers promised on ABC’s Q&A program that the government will unveil its plan to ease pressure on hosuehold energy bills by Christmas. He did not rule out subsidies or changing the way companies are taxed.

On with the news.





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