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PRESS RELEASE - 21 February 2018
Leisure Centre Cyber Attack
The Shire of Bridgetown-Greenbushes Leisure Centre was recently impacted by cyber-crime when a third party accessed the Centre’s operating software, encrypting data held on the Centre’s server.
Investigations regarding the incident are ongoing, however the preliminary assessment is that a third party accessed the server via a monitoring gateway by the software service provider. The third party demanded a ransom in order to unencrypt the data.
The Shire CEO, Tim Clynch, stated that “our initial reaction to the ransom demand was not to pay criminals for engaging in criminal activity, however after seeking further advice the decision was made to pay the $2,600 ransom”.
Shire staff liaised with its IT consultants, insurer and a specialist cyber-crime support team. The advice received indicated that, based on past experiences of similar nature, the data encrypted by cyber criminals in this fashion were not copied or compromised, other than being encrypted for the purpose of securing a ransom. Without the exact operating software, that data itself is unreadable. The costs of rebuilding the server and data base were considered to be higher than the cost of the ransom demand.
Following the payment of the ransom, the data was unencrypted and the operating system functioning within 4 days of the ransom being received.
Statistics show that in 2017 Australia ranked 2nd highest in the world for the number of ransom ware detections, and that 1/3 of Australian businesses have been subject to denial of service attacks such as this.
“It is evident that no business, local government or operator with an online presence is immune from this type of risk”, Tim Clynch went on to say “we have identified some areas of improvement to minimize our exposure to risk moving forward. I felt it was important to be transparent regarding the incident. Each Leisure Centre member has received a letter advising of the attack and detailing the outcomes and actions taken to resolve it”.
For more information regarding this press release please contact the Shire’s Executive Manager Community Services Elizabeth Denniss on 9761-0800.
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