(Bloomberg) -- Australian authorities are blaming the pandemic for a 13% rise in cyber crime, saying malicious actors have pivoted to exploit the those working from home and targeting vulnerable people and health services to conduct espionage, and steal money and sensitive data.
The Australian Cyber Security Centre received more than 67,500 cybercrime incidents in the 12 months to June 30 -- or one every eight minutes. Ransomware-related cybercrime reports increased nearly 15% in that time, according to its annual report released Wednesday.
Assistant Minister for Defence Andrew Hastie said about one-quarter of the reported cyber security incidents affected critical infrastructure organizations, including essential services such as education, communications, electricity, water, and transport.
“The health sector reported the second-highest number of ransomware incidents, right at a time when Australians are most reliant on our health workers to help us respond and recover through the pandemic,” Hastie said in a statement. In the period, more than 1,500 cybercrime reports related to the Covid-19 pandemic were recorded every month, and more than 110 malicious pandemic-themed websites were removed, he said.
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