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Australian Defence Department caught up in ransomware attack

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An air force officer holds an ipad in the foreground. Another soldier and a plane are behind him

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A communications platform used by military personnel and Department of Defense officials has been hit by a ransomware attack.

The hackers targeted the ForceNet service, which is run by an external ICT provider, but Defense has been told that no data on current or former personnel appears to have been compromised.

In a message to all staff, the Defense Secretary and Chief of Defense said the matter was being taken “very seriously”.

There have been a series of cyberattacks in recent weeks, from telecommunications companies to health insurers.

Medibank confirmed last week that a criminal entity behind the cyberattack on the company had access to data of at least 4 million customers, some of which includes health claims.

A month earlier, Optus announced that a cyberattack had exposed the data of nearly 10 million Australians, with significant amounts of data stolen from 2.8 million people.

In their email to staff, the Defense bosses were adamant that the ForceNet hack was not an attack on the department’s computer systems.

“We take this matter very seriously and are working with the vendor to determine the extent of the attack and whether the data of current and former APS (Australian Public Service) staff and ADF staff was affected. “, they wrote.

“If you had a ForceNet account in 2018, we urge you to be alert but not alarmed.”

“Initial discussions with the service provider indicate that there is no evidence that the data of current and former APS personnel and ADF personnel has been compromised.

“We are nonetheless reviewing the contents of the ForceNet 2018 dataset and the personal information it contains.”

More soon.

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