Second public sector organisation hit by cyber-attack

By Andrew Macfarlane, 1 NEWS Reporter

Another Government organisation is grappling with a cyber-attack, after discovering a threat last month.

The Health Research Council, which is responsible for managing around $120 million in funding annually, says it’s addressing “an incident affecting the organisation’s IT environment.”

While a spokesperson wouldn’t go into detail about the exact nature of the attack, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner was alerted on December 17.

1 NEWS also understands the GCSB has been called in to help.

It follows on from an digital attack on the Reserve Bank, which was also impacted last month.

There are no clear signs the two are related, but the government’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) says incidents like these are expected to become more common.

Nadia Yousef, CERT’S Incident Response Manager, says attackers don’t discriminate when hunting for targets.

“They’re opportunistic, they get in whatever way they can,” she says.

Technology commentator Paul Brislen says two attacks on public sector organisations in one month isn’t a good look.

“I think the Government is suddenly becoming aware of how exposed we are,” he says.

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