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Australian business affected by global cyberattack, says Federal Government

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Australia seems to have come away relatively unscathed from the global cyber attack that took place over the weekend, with the Federal Government confirming that only one private-sector business has been affected with two more potentially impacted.

Speaking to Sky News (opens in new tab) on Sunday evening, Dan Tehan, the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cyber Security, said, “There has been one incident of the ransomware hitting a business here in Australia and there could be two other incidents where it has occurred, although we are trying to confirm that. What I can say though [is] we’re not talking about a government organisation or a hospital or anything like that.”

Tehan added that the affected business is working with the Australian Cyber Security Centre to fix the issue. He also warned that this attack should be “a wake-up call” for public and private sector department heads to upgrade their systems to fight the latest threats.

“When you go into work ­tomorrow to make sure your systems have been updated,” he added during Sunday’s interview, “make sure your chief information officer is right on top of this.”

Held for ransom

WannaCry is believed to have been made using tools developed by the US National Security Agency and leaked online. It affects Microsoft machines running older versions of Windows, holding users’ files for ransom.

According to Europol (opens in new tab), it affected 200,000 victims across 150 countries, with the threat first spotted by the NHS in the UK.

A self-taught British computer technician brought the attack to a halt by registering the domain the virus was trying to link to and, in the meantime, Microsoft released a patch to fix the issues relating to WannaCry.

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The Federal Government, however, has warned that the storm has not passed as newer versions of the bug could be spread and Australians are being urged to upgrade their Windows machines and back up their data.

Sharmishta Sarkar
Sharmishta Sarkar

Sharmishta is TechRadar's APAC Managing Editor and loves all things photography, something she discovered while chasing monkeys in the wilds of India (yes, she studied to be a primatologist but has since left monkey business behind). While she's happiest with a camera in her hand, she's also an avid reader and has become a passionate proponent of ereaders, having appeared on Singaporean radio to talk about the convenience of these underrated devices. When she's not testing cameras and lenses, she's discovering the joys and foibles of smart home gizmos. She also contributes to Digital Camera World and T3, and helps produce two of Future's photography print magazines in Australia.