Statement on the US Department of Justice indictment of cyber actors

  • Joint statement with:
  • The Hon Karen Andrews MP, Minister for Home Affairs
26 March 2022

The Australian Government is concerned about global malicious cyber intrusions, as detailed in the indictments by the United States Department of Justice.

The indictments note the US Department of Justice is bringing criminal charges against four individuals working on behalf of the Russian government for their respective roles in separate cyber campaigns that targeted the global energy sector between 2012 and 2018.

In total, the hacking campaigns outlined in the indictment targeted thousands of computers, at hundreds of companies and organizations, in approximately 135 countries, including Australia.

One indictment concerns the alleged efforts of an employee of a Russian Ministry of Defense research institute and his co-conspirators to damage critical infrastructure outside the United States.

The second indictment concerns the actions of three officers of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) and their co-conspirators to target and compromise the computers of hundreds of entities related to the energy sector worldwide.

The Australian Government also welcomes the United Kingdom’s sanctions against a Russian entity for carrying out malicious cyber activity on a Saudi petro-chemical plant, which is one of the entities related to the US indictment.

These indictments highlight once again Russia’s pattern of destructive, disruptive, or otherwise destabilising behaviour in cyberspace.

The Australian Government calls for all countries to refrain from behaviour which is contrary to the framework for responsible state behaviour in cyberspace. We welcome actions designed to hold malicious cyber actors to account.

The Australian Cyber Security Centre is working closely with organisations across Australia to help build their resilience to cyber compromises and is engaging with victims of malicious cyber incidents to offer cyber security advice and assistance.

We encourage all Australian citizens and organisations to remain vigilant about cyber security threats. The Australian Cyber Security Centre’s cyber security advice is available at cyber.gov.au.

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