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Today, Australia declares its support for the release of the Joint Cyber Security Advisory by the US, UK and Canada, which details malicious cyber activity by Russian actors targeting organisations involved in COVID-19 vaccine development.

Joint statement

The Australian Cyber Security Centre
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Department of Home Affairs

The Joint Advisory makes clear that these cyber actors are conducting an ongoing campaign against government, diplomatic, think tank, healthcare and energy targets to steal intellectual property. The Advisory notes that the cyber actors almost certainly operate as part of Russian intelligence services.

Australia is concerned by any reports that malicious cyber actors are seeking to exploit the current pandemic for their own gain. The targeting of COVID19 vaccine development and research during a pandemic is completely unacceptable behaviour.

The Australian Government calls on Russia to cease immediately any cyber activity, or support for such activity, which is inconsistent with their international commitments.

Australia, through the office of the Ambassador for Cyber Affairs and Critical Technologies, has registered our concern at the United Nations about malicious activity targeting health infrastructure. Australia's Cyber Cooperation Program is assisting countries in our region to strengthen their cyber resilience.

The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) is working closely with organisations across Australia to help build their resilience to cyber compromises and is engaging with victims of malicious cyber incidents to offer cyber security advice and assistance.

The ACSC, assisted by our law enforcement and industry partners, is working to disrupt and prevent COVID-19-related cyber activity.

The Australian Government has announced it is investing $1.35 billion to further enhance Australia’s cyber security capabilities and that the 2020 Cyber Security Strategy will be delivered in coming months.

We encourage all Australian citizens and organisations to remain vigilant about cyber security threats. The ACSC’s cyber security advice is available at cyber.gov.au