On Tuesday, CS Energy, a Queensland government-owned energy generator, said it was reacting to a ransomware intrusion over the weekend. According to Energy Source & Distribution, the event has had no impact on energy generation at Callide and Kogan Creek power plants. The business is working to repair its network.
Lani Refiti, ANZ regional director at Claroty, responded to the event by saying that ransomware gangs are increasingly targeting vital infrastructure because infrastructure organizations cannot afford any interruptions or downtime. Due to Bills’ assertion that segregation happened after the incident began, Refiti’s hopes are likely disappointed.
Callide had a fire in its turbine hall earlier this year, which caused power shortages across Queensland. Telstra energy chief Ben Burge said earlier this month that the telco could keep the lights on for 50,000 people during the outage because it could employ backup power assets, such as batteries, in its telecommunication infrastructure to stabilize the grid alleviate market shortages.
Telstra has been granted operating permission in New South Wales, Queensland, and South Australia, and plans to enter the energy sector in 2022. The Australian government has implemented a new set of freestanding criminal crimes for anyone who used ransomware last month, dubbed the “Ransomware Action Plan,” which includes a new criminal offense for people who use ransomware to attack vital infrastructure.
The Australian Government does not condone hackers receiving ransom money, according to the Ransomware Action Plan. Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews noted at the time that each ransom payment, large or little, feeds the ransomware business model, putting other Australians at risk.
The proposal also includes a new obligatory ransomware event reporting system, which would oblige businesses with annual revenues of more than AU$10 million to formally inform the government if they are victims of a cyber-attack. The Critical Infrastructure Bill was passed by both chambers of federal parliament last week and is now awaiting Royal Assent.