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Cybersecurity Firm Warns of Increased Threats to Australian Entities Amidst Israel-Hamas War

A top cybersecurity firm, CyberCX, has indicated that in light of the Israel-Hamas war, Australian organizations might be under the cyber threat radar of ideologically-driven actors.


CyberCX's recent report from 10 October reveals that following Israel's official war declaration on 8 October, they've tracked a change in online narratives of over 30 groups. These groups have affiliations with countries like Russia, Ukraine, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Notably, many entities that had been focusing on the Russian-Ukraine conflict have recently shifted their attention to the Israel-Hamas situation.


According to CyberCX, there's a high possibility that groups which support Russia and have previously targeted the Australia-New Zealand (AUNZ) region will exploit the ongoing Middle East conflict and associated political reactions, like on-ground protests in Australia, to intensify their cyber activities.


Two groups highlighted by CyberCX for their activities in the ongoing conflict have previously launched cyber-attacks on Australia. This includes the group believed to be responsible for disabling the Department of Home Affairs website for a duration of five hours the previous week. Furthermore, the pro-Russian faction called 'Anonymous Sudan' that has taken credit for at least two dozen distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks on Australian firms is also active amid the current unrest.


The primary cyber threat that Australia could face is DDoS attacks - overwhelming a website with excessive traffic in a synchronized manner to render it unusable. Such threats would be especially detrimental to essential infrastructure sectors like finance, energy, utilities, government, and entities associated with Israel or neighboring regions.


Although CyberCX emphasized the genuine possibility of direct cyber-attacks on Australian and New Zealand organizations due to their governments' disapproval of Hamas, they also noted that other regions might be prioritized targets in the foreseeable future.


In related news, Bloomberg highlighted that several factions, some associated with Russia, have started launching cyber offensives on Israeli government and media websites since the onset of the conflict. Meanwhile, Rob Joyce, the cybersecurity chief at the US National Security Agency, clarified that there haven't been significant cyber incidents related to the war up to now.


The entity behind the Home Affairs website's recent takedown stated that their action was a repercussion of Australia's sustained backing of Ukraine in its conflict with Russia.

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