Australian government-owned energy company hit by ransomware attack

CS Energy confirmed hackers infiltrated its corporate network but says the incident has not impacted electricity generation

An energy company owned by the Queensland government has confirmed it was hit by a ransomware attack over the weekend.

CS Energy confirmed it has suffered a ransomware attack that took place on Saturday 27 November. The company said the incident occurred on its corporate network but has not impacted electricity generation at its Callide and Kogan Creek power stations, adding that it continues to generate and dispatch electricity.

CS Energy is focusing on restoring the security of its network and supporting employees, customers, and business partners with any questions they have. CEO Andrew Bills revealed that the company contained the ransomware attack by segregating the corporate network from other internal networks and enacting business continuity processes.

The energy company has also notified relevant state and federal agencies and is working closely with them as well as other cyber security experts. It has contacted its retail customers to reassure them there will be no impact on their electricity supply.

“Unfortunately, cyber events are a growing trend in Australia and overseas,” said Bills. “This incident may have affected our corporate network, but we are fortunate to have a resilient and highly skilled workforce who remain focused on ensuring CS Energy continues to deliver electricity to Queenslanders.”

IT Pro has contacted CS Energy to find out more information about the attack.

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News of the attack comes after the Australian government published its Ransomware Action Plan in mid-October, which revealed it was looking to introduce legislative reforms to ensure cyber criminals are held to account for their actions. It would also apply harsher penalties to those who engage in ransomware or target the country’s critical infrastructure. The plan underlines the need to mandate ransomware incident reporting to the government and adds it does not condone ransom payments being made to hackers.

Cyber crime in Australia increased by nearly 13% in the past year as more Australians increased their dependence on the internet to work remotely, access services, and communicate, the Australia Cyber Security Centre said in a report from September. Around a quarter of cyber incidents reported were associated with the country’s critical infrastructure or essential services, and it recorded a 15% increase in ransomware reports.

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