ARKANSAS, Nov 15 (Future Headlines)- Australia has experienced a surge in cyberattacks on critical infrastructure, businesses, and homes, according to a report from the Australian Cyber Security Centre. Cybercrime reports increased by 23% in the financial year ending June, totaling over 94,000 incidents, with an estimated hack occurring every six minutes. State-sponsored cyber groups, as well as hackers, have intensified assaults, with a particular focus on critical infrastructure. The report attributes the heightened threat to the new AUKUS defense partnership, which includes Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. This alliance, emphasizing nuclear submarines and advanced military capabilities, has likely drawn increased attention from state actors.

The report suggests that the AUKUS defense partnership, with its emphasis on advanced military capabilities, has made Australia a more attractive target for state-sponsored cyber groups. The focus on nuclear submarines could be a factor in the growing interest in Australia’s critical infrastructure.

Cybercrime reports saw a significant increase, rising by 23% in the financial year to June. The Australian Cyber Security Centre estimates that there is a cyberattack on Australian assets every six minutes. This highlights the escalating frequency and severity of cyber threats.

The report notes a greater interest from state actors in targeting Australia’s critical infrastructure. This includes sectors such as telecommunications, energy, and transportation. The concern is that techniques used by state-sponsored groups could be employed to compromise these essential services.

While the report does not explicitly mention China, it alludes to the potential involvement of state-sponsored Chinese hacking groups. The Five Eyes intelligence alliance, which includes Australia, has previously reported Chinese cyber espionage targeting critical infrastructure in the United States.

Australia acknowledges the complexity of its relationship with China, its largest trading partner. The government emphasizes the need to balance a productive economic relationship with addressing security concerns, reflecting the delicate diplomatic position.

In response to the increased cyber threats, the Australian government has taken steps to strengthen its cybersecurity posture. This includes the establishment of an agency to coordinate responses to cyber incidents, an overhaul of federal cyber laws, and the intention to make reporting ransomware incidents mandatory for companies.

The average cost of cybercrime to its victims rose by 14%, underscoring the financial impact of cyber incidents. This increase in costs emphasizes the need for improved cybersecurity measures to mitigate economic losses.

The government is set to release details of an overhaul of federal cybersecurity laws, aiming to enhance the nation’s resilience against cyber threats. The legislative changes are expected to address gaps and strengthen cybersecurity measures.

The report highlights risks associated with third parties, such as supply chain partners, accessing confidential data. A survey conducted by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission found that 44% of surveyed companies did not manage such risks adequately.

Experts emphasize the necessity of a closer relationship between industry and government to address the evolving cyber threat landscape. Collaboration is seen as crucial to enhancing cybersecurity measures and responses.

In summary, the report underscores the growing cybersecurity challenges faced by Australia, emphasizing the need for comprehensive measures to protect critical infrastructure, businesses, and individuals. The heightened focus on state-sponsored threats, especially in the context of the AUKUS partnership, highlights the evolving nature of cybersecurity risks and the importance of proactive cybersecurity strategies.

Reporting by Alireza Sabet; Editing by Sarah White