Government warns against increasing cyber attacks, new contactless crime.

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher is concerned about the “significant” cyber security challenges faced by Australian businesses and government departments and has committed record funding to disrupt foreign cyber criminals and better identify malicious hacks.

Earlier this month Channel 9 fell victim to a cyber incident. This was an advanced, well thought out attack which began with malware spreading between devices at Channel 9 headquarters in Sydney.

Nine’s flagship program The Weekend Today Show was shut down, mail and editing systems were disabled leaving data and production systems unavailable. The Project Lab’s Managing Director Joel Harris explains that this incident may potentially end up costing the Nine Network millions considering clean up and impact on revenue.

“Businesses should regularly review and test devices and online processes to ensure systems and data are not left vulnerable.” Joel recommends that following a simple cyber framework such as NIST, or the Essential8 is a must for any size organisation.

Senior Consultant, Mariae Leckie from the The Project Lab explained that cyber and digital security risk is a major business issue facing Boards and Senior Executives due to the significant financial, reputational, and legal implications.

Paul Haskell-Dowland, Associate Professor at Edith Cowan University, said easier access to hacking tools has led to a surge in encryption attacks on networks.

“The kinds of tools that you use in these kinds of attacks are readily available in what we call the hidden underground economy, or the black market,” he said.

“Not only does it [the software] come with an instruction manual, and packaged in an inappropriate form, but it will often come with 24/7 technical support and the guarantee.”

He added that an encryption attack was also “a near-perfect crime” when it comes to throwing an organisation into chaos. Attackers often destroy the decryption keys to cover their attacks and leave their victims with little chance to recover the locked data.

“For many smaller organisations, this kind of attack is fatal.”

If you are concerned about your organisation’s risk or are a Board Director wanting to understand your personal risk and liability, contact a member of The Project Lab’s Cyber Team: 1300 293 763 or

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