Russian ransomware attack was to black out nearly 3m Australian homes

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A ransomware attack that has completely blacked out nearly 3 million Australian homes has now be attributed to Russian hacking gang ‘Wizard Spider’; unlike Chinese hackers, as speculated by a certain section of media a few days back.

Queensland CS Energy, that witnessed a digital disruption on November 27th, 2021, has now found that the attack was of ransomware variant and was launched by Wizard Spider, a notorious cyber criminal gang from Saint Petersburg.

Investigation launched by the company that owns and operates two thermal power plans has revealed that the attack disrupted the production of over 3,500 MW of electricity from generators that could have knocked out around 3 millions homes from power supply.

As the IT staff was well equipped with disaster recovery measures, the blackout was averted as the access to the hackers was blocked at the right time, saving the nation from loosing over millions of dollars, time and valuable lives from the power blackout.

Senator James Paterson, the chairperson of Intelligence and Security Committee, urged the operators in control of critical infrastructure to bolster their cyber defenses and admitted that the nation was constantly facing a cyber threat from adversaries such as Russia and China.

Since the malware attribution was related to Conti, the involvement of Russian crime group behind the attack is confirmed.

Note 1-Earlier, as Australia imposed the ban on the use of Huawei products in its nations 5G network build, prima facie conducted by the law enforcement agencies in Queensland pointed a finger towards Beijing.

Note 2- Also, as Canberra ordered for a detailed probe on the start of COVID-19 pandemic from china, the relationship of them with the Xi Jinping led nation deteriorated further from last year.

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Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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