Australia plans to seize crypto in ransomware crackdown

A 60% surge in cyberattacks has forced the Australian government to take a tougher stance

The Australian government is planning to introduce The Ransomware Motion Plan – legislation that will allow authorities to seize or freeze cryptocurrencies that are involved in cybercrime.

A 60% surge in cybercrime targeting Australian companies and businesses has led lawmakers to introduce new measures that aim to increase penalties for offenders as well as the proposed Surveillance Legislation Amendment.

In addition to the seizure or freezing of financial transactions in cryptocurrencies, the planned legislation will also criminalise dealing with stolen data and buying and selling malware used in ransomware attacks.

Ransomware attacks are not a new issue for Australia, and the government has already attempted ways to combat cybercrime.

In July, a multi-agency task force named Operation Orcus was set up with special attention paid to Russia where malware such as REvil and DarkSide were utilised in the attempt to either encrypt or steal data in order for offenders to demand a ransom in form of cryptocurrency.

Australian government response

Home Affairs minister Karen Andrews said the new laws will help better protect the public and will aim to prosecute the offenders.

“Ransomware gangs have attacked businesses, individuals, and critical infrastructure right across the country,” she said.

“Stealing and holding private and personal information for ransom costs victims time and money, interrupting lives and the operations of small businesses.

“That’s why the Morrison Government is taking action to disrupt, pursue and prosecute cybercriminals. Our tough new laws will target this online criminality, and hit cybercrooks where it hurts most – their bank balances.”



Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author should not be considered as financial advice. We do not give advice on financial products.

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