Australian victims of cybercrime are being urged to report ransomware attempts to police following the disruption of a dangerous ransomware group.
Acting Superintendent at the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Ashley Wygoda said a recent operation demonstrated how valuable it was for people to report cybercrime as it increased their chances of achieving a positive outcome.
A/Superintendent Wygoda said Operation Orcus – a multi-agency ransomware taskforce established by the AFP – received a request from the Dutch National Police in September for assistance investigating a ransomware group called Deadbolt.
“Deadbolt had infiltrated the computers of more than 15,000 people and companies in 13 countries and was demanding payments of about AUD $1500 from the victims in exchange for file decryption,” A/Superintendent Wygoda said.
“At least 12 Australians were among those targeted,” he said.
“Police were able to retrieve more than 150 decryption keys from the ransomware group which enabled about 90 per cent of reported victims to access their files, photos and personal data without paying the ransom.”
As a result of the disruption, A/Superintendent Wygoda said the AFP obtained decryption keys for a number of Australian victims.
He said victims who filed reports were the first people to tip off the police and receive their data back.
“Unfortunately for victims who didn’t report it, their chances of retrieving their data back was low,” A/Superintendent Wygoda said.
“This operation has demonstrated how valuable it is for people to report cybercrime especially if they have been affected.”
He urged people affected by ransomware, or any other cybercrime, to report it as soon as it happens to increase their chances of achieving a positive outcome.