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Ransomware Attack Caused Knocking Off-air of Australian News Channel

Theinquirer.net reported on 8th October, 2014 stating that an Australian rolling news channel was hastily taken off from air recently after a ransomware virus was accidentally let loose in the computer systems of the company.

The Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) with many other Australian public services has been targeted lately by coordinated phishing emails.

A staff member seems to have opened one which may be related to a utility bill or delivery causing chaos making ABC News 24 gone off the air for some time in the morning of Tuesday, 7th October, 2014.

Theguardian.com published news on 7th October, 2014 quoting a Spokeswoman of ABC as saying "There was an IT security issue affecting some systems of ABC broadcasting, creating technical glitches for ABC News 24. Due to this, we broadcast stand-by programs before starting live broadcasts of news from Melbourne and now we are operating normally."

It is understood that the attacks started with Australian postal service Auspost before attacking other utility providers and then the media.

According to Auspost, Australian Communications and Media Authority had warned them about new phishing websites working out of Russia. It has been suspected that these malicious domains attacked The ABC as well as many other enterprises within Australia.

Although the family of ransomware employed by attackers has not been identified but probably it is CryptoWall.

There has been an incredible increase in Australia regarding attacks with families of crypto-malware locking the information on the compromised computer and demanding ransom as compared to other parts of the world.

Symantec recently released a report on this matter saying that since May this type of threats in Australia has increased by more than 1,300%.

CryptoWall has been described as "the biggest and most vicious e-threat on the Internet" since its emergence on the web in late 2013.

There are good reasons to believe claims by researchers of Counter Threat Unit (CTU) at Dell SecureWorks such as prior to new developments on CryptoWall, the malware had polluted over 600,000 machines during first half of 2014 holding approximately 5 billion files hostage.

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