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Report Writing of Ransomware Attacks in Australia Assignment Sample

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Introduction: Report Writing of Ransomware Attacks in Australia

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Ransomware attacks have emerged as a significant and escalating threat in the digital landscape, wreaking havoc on individuals, businesses, and even critical infrastructure within Australia. As these attacks continue to proliferate, there has been a growing discussion surrounding the proposal to outlaw payment in ransomware attacks in Australia. The idea behind this study is to disrupt the economic model that fuels ransomware operations and discourage attackers from targeting victims (CISA, 2023). This study aims to explore the potential benefits of outlawing payment in ransomware attacks while critically evaluating the effectiveness of this strategy. By examining both sides of the argument, we can gain a deeper understanding of the implications and complexities associated with such a prohibition.

Understanding Ransomware Attacks

A ransomware attack is a type of harmful online behaviour that encrypts a victim's data or systems without authorization in order to demand a ransom payment in exchange for regaining access. These assaults often take advantage of holes in computer networks using a variety of strategies, including phishing emails, hijacked websites, or software flaws (Lab,AO Kaspersky , 2023). Identifying the driving forces behind ransomware assaults is essential for creating efficient defences. The underlying motivation behind the majority of ransomware assaults continues to be money. Attackers see it as a profitable business strategy, taking advantage of the victims' desperate attempts to recover access to crucial data. Cryptocurrencies' inherent anonymity has made it simpler for attackers to demand and accept ransom payments while remaining undetected (Wall & Lang, 2020). Strategies for prevention and response are influenced by an understanding of the reasons underlying ransomware attacks. Various AustralianOrganisations and governments may better protect themselves from this expanding danger by addressing the core causes, such as boosting threat information sharing, upgrading cybersecurity practises, and putting in place efficient incident response plans (Alshaikh, 2020).

The Rationale for Outlawing Payment

The idea of banning ransom payments has received support as a viable tactic to deal with this growing menace. Although the concept has its own difficulties, supporters contend that it might have a number of advantages and help to lessen the effects of ransomware attacks. The following justifications offer an explanation for prohibiting ransom payments.

Disrupting the Economic Model of Ransomware Attacks: Outlawing ransom payments aims to disrupt the financial incentives for attackers. By removing the ability to profit from their malicious activities, the economic viability of ransomware operations would be undermined. Without the prospect of financial gain, attackers may be discouraged from targeting victims, leading to a decrease in the number of incidents over time (Zimba, 2019).

Discouraging Attackers and Reducing the Number of Incidents: The potential deterrent effect of outlawing payment is another argument in favour of the proposed strategy. If attackers perceive a higher risk of unsuccessful ransom attempts or a decreased likelihood of receiving payments, they may be dissuaded from engaging in ransomware attacks altogether. This could lead to a decline in the number of incidents, as attackers may shift their focus to other forms of cybercrime that offer higher probabilities of success (Dey, 2021).

Protecting Potential Victims from Extortion and Financial Losses: By banning ransom payments, potential victims would be protected from the extortion tactics employed by ransomware attackers. Without the option to pay a ransom, victims would not be coerced into parting with substantial sums of money to regain access to their encrypted data. This could alleviate the financial burden placed on individuals, businesses, and organizations that fall victim to ransomware attacks (Tiu, 2021).

Facilitating International Cooperation in Combating Cybercrime: Outlawing payment in ransomware attacks could foster international cooperation in combating cybercrime. Currently, ransom payments often cross international borders, making it challenging to trace and hold perpetrators accountable. By eliminating the financial incentive and standardizing a global stance against ransom payments, countries could collaborate more effectively in sharing information, intelligence, and resources to track down and prosecute cybercriminals (Dr ?wi?tkowska, 2020).

However, it is important to critically evaluate the effectiveness of this strategy, considering the potential limitations and unintended consequences:

  • Practical Difficulties in Enforcing Legislation Globally: Enforcing a ban on ransom payments globally poses significant challenges. The jurisdictional complexities, varying legal frameworks, and the anonymous nature of cryptocurrencies used for ransom payments make it difficult to effectively regulate and monitor such transactions across borders (Lopez, 2007).
  • Emergence of Alternative Payment Methods: As ransomware attackers adapt to countermeasures, they may shift to alternative payment methods that are harder to trace and regulate, such as privacy-focused cryptocurrencies or digital assets. This could undermine the effectiveness of a payment ban, as attackers find alternative means to receive ransom payments (Lopez, 2007).
  • Unintended Consequences: Outlawing payments in ransomware attacks may have unintended consequences. Desperate victims who are unable to recover their critical data might resort to illegal or unethical activities themselves to regain access. Moreover, attackers might resort to more aggressive tactics, such as destroying data or targeting victims with physical violence, to compel payment in the absence of a viable payment option (Lopez, 2007).
  • Impact on Victims and Ethical Concerns: Banning ransom payments raises ethical concerns regarding the decision-making process for victims. Some victims may be left with no choice but to comply with the ransom demands due to the value and sensitivity of their data. Outlawing payments could result in victim-blaming and place the burden solely on the victim, potentially leaving them with irreparable damage to their business or personal life(Lopez, 2007).

Assessing the Benefits of Outlawing Payment

The proposal to outlaw payment in ransomware attacks has sparked discussions as a potential strategy to combat the rising threat. By examining the potential benefits associated with this strategy, we can gain insight into its impact on the ransomware landscape. Outlawing payment would disrupt the economic model of ransomware attacks, impacting the financial viability of ransomware gangs. With no ability to profit from their malicious activities, attackers would face significant challenges in funding future attacks. This disruption could have a lasting effect, potentially reducing the overall number of ransomware incidents over time. Beyond the financial impact, outlawing payment acts as a powerful disincentive for potential attackers. If the likelihood of receiving payment decreases significantly, the appeal of engaging in ransomware attacks diminishes. This decrease in the potential financial gain can discourage individuals from entering the realm of ransomware, leading to a decline in the overall number of attacks (NCSC, 2023). By raising the bar for potential attackers, outlawing payment can serve as a deterrent and contribute to a safer digital environment. Moreover, the prohibition of ransom payments can drive individuals, businesses, and organizations to prioritize and invest in robust cybersecurity practices. In the absence of the option to pay a ransom, the focus shifts towards preventive measures and mitigation strategies. This shift can lead to increased investments in security measures such as regular backups, vulnerability management, employee training, and incident response capabilities. Strengthening cybersecurity practices and investments not only helps in defending against ransomware attacks but also bolsters overall resilience in the face of evolving cyber threats (Lewis, 2013). The possible improvement of cooperation between the public and commercial sectors is a key advantage of banning payment. Currently, ransom payments frequently traverse international borders, making it difficult to identify and prosecute offenders (OCED, 2015). Countries may work together to tackle cybercrime by adopting a worldwide stance against ransom payments. Increased information sharing, intelligence collaboration, and resource allocation can be made possible by the joint goal of outlawing payments in order to find and bring fraudsters to justice. More effective responses to ransomware attacks may result from improved public-private sector cooperation, particularly when perpetrators are based in regions with little law enforcement capacity (CISA, 2023).

While weighing the advantages of banning payment is critical, it is as important to take into account the potential drawbacks and restrictions connected to this tactic. It is important to carefully consider the practical challenges of implementing laws on a worldwide scale, the advent of alternative payment systems, unforeseen effects, and ethical considerations. To successfully tackle ransomware attacks and lessen their impact on people, businesses, and organisations, a comprehensive strategy that incorporates legislative measures, enhanced cybersecurity practises, international collaboration, and victim support must be put in place.

Potential challenges and limitations of outlawing payment in ransomware attacks

Challenges and Limitations

Explanation

Practical Difficulties in Enforcing Legislation Globally

Enforcing a global ban on ransom payments is challenging due to the cross-border nature of ransomware attacks and varying legal frameworks. Coordinating international efforts and addressing jurisdictional complexities is complex and time-consuming (Popoola, 2017).

Emergence of Alternative Payment Methods

Cybercriminals may shift to alternative payment methods that are harder to trace and regulate, such as privacy-focused cryptocurrencies or digital assets. This undermines the effectiveness of a payment ban as attackers find alternative means to receive ransom payments (Barkworth, 2021).

Unintended Consequences

Outlawing payments may lead to unintended consequences. Desperate victims may resort to illegal or unethical activities themselves to regain access to their data. Attackers might employ more aggressive tactics, such as destroying data or physical violence, in the absence of payment options (Behrmann, 2023).

Impact on Victims and Ethical Concerns

Banning ransom payments raises ethical concerns and places victims in a challenging position. Some victims may have no choice but to comply with ransom demands due to the value and sensitivity of their data. Victim-blaming and the burden placed solely on victims may overlook systemic vulnerabilities (Castro & Cartwright, 2020).

Shift to Non-Financial Ransom Tactics

Prohibiting financial payments may lead attackers to adopt non-financial means of extortion, such as threatening to release sensitive information publicly. This shift complicates the response to ransomware attacks and necessitates alternative strategies to address evolving tactics(Castro & Cartwright, 2020).

Proposal for a multi-faceted approach to combat ransomware attacks

A multifaceted strategy is required to successfully tackle the rising danger of ransomware assaults. This strategy should include a number of efforts and methods that target the many facets of the ransomware scenario. The suggestion that follows describes crucial elements of a thorough strategy:

Strengthened Cybersecurity Measures: In order to reduce the danger of ransomware attacks, a proactive and strong cybersecurity posture is essential. Measures including routine backups, strict access restrictions, network segmentation, timely software upgrades, and staff training on cybersecurity best practises should be given top priority by both organisations and people. Investing in sophisticated threat detection and response tools can aid in early identification and containment of ransomware events (Alshaikh, 2020).

International cooperation and information sharing: Cybercriminals acting across international lines frequently carry out ransomware assaults. Improved global collaboration is necessary to properly address this menace. To exchange threat intelligence, forensic tools, and legal frameworks, nations should cooperate together. Response efforts can be accelerated by creating specialised channels for quick information sharing between law enforcement authorities, cybersecurity companies, and impacted organisations (Choudhary, 2023).

Legislative and Legal Measures: Governments should establish thorough legislation that tackles ransomware attacks and offers a legal foundation for punishing perpetrators. Legislative and legal measures. This includes regulations that make ransomware operations illegal, lay out precise standards for victim assistance, and promote global collaboration in investigative and extradition procedures. To achieve uniform enforcement across states, governments should also endeavour to harmonise international law (Technology, 2020).

Public Education and Awareness: It is essential to educate the public about ransomware attacks, their effects, and the precautions that may be taken. Governments, cybersecurity organisations, and educational institutions should work together to create educational tools and campaigns that alert people to the dangers of ransomware and provide them advice on how to protect their systems and data (Sittig, 2016).

Conclusion

This study has discussed the suggestion to prohibit ransom payments in cyberattacks. It is impossible to stress the importance of ongoing research, collaboration, and adaptability in thwarting ransomware assaults. The battle against ransomware necessitates continual efforts as technology advances and thieves discover new methods to attack weaknesses. It is essential to keep up with new threats, create creative defences, and promote cooperation between the public and commercial sectors, law enforcement organisations, and cybersecurity experts.

References

  • Alshaikh, H., 2020. Ransomware Prevention and Mitigation Techniques. International Journal of Computer Applications , 117(40), pp. 31-39.
  • Alshaikh, H., 2020. Ransomware Prevention and Mitigation Techniques. International Journal of Computer Applications , 117(40), pp. 31-39.
  • Barkworth, A., 2021. Ransomware: Recent Advances, Analysis, Challenges and Future Research Directions, s.l.: University of British Columbia - Vancouver.
  • Behrmann, M., 2023. The unintended consequences of ransomware attacks on manufacturing companies. [Online]
    Available at: https://www.dairyfoods.com/blogs/14-dairy-foods-blog/post/95090-the-unintended-consequences-of-ransomware-attacks-on-manufacturing-companies
    [Accessed 16 May 2023].
  • Castro, J. H.-,. & Cartwright, A. a. C., 2020. An economic analysis of ransomware and its welfare consequences, s.l.: NCBI.
  • Choudhary, U., 2023. Taking a Multi-Faceted Approach to Ransomware Protection. [Online]
    Available at: https://itbrief.co.uk/story/taking-a-multi-faceted-approach-to-ransomware-protection
    [Accessed 16 May 2023].
  • CISA, 2023. #StopRansomware: Ransomware Attacks on Critical Infrastructure Fund DPRK Malicious Cyber Activities. [Online]
    Available at: https://www.cisa.gov/news-events/cybersecurity-advisories/aa23-040a
    [Accessed 16 May 2023].
  • Dey, D., 2021. Should We Outlaw Ransomware Payments?, s.l.: University of Kansas.
  • Dr ?wi?tkowska, J., 2020. Tackling cybercrime to unleash developing countries’ digital potential, s.l.: The European Cybersecurity Forum.
  • Lab,AO Kaspersky , 2023. Ransomware Attacks and Types – How Encryption Trojans Differ. [Online]
    Available at: https://www.kaspersky.com/resource-center/threats/ransomware-attacks-and-types
    [Accessed 16 May 2023].
  • Lewis, J. A., 2013. Raising the Bar for Cybersecurity, s.l.: CSIS.
  • Lopez, J., 2007. International Cooperation to Fight Transnational Cybercrime, s.l.: University of Malaga.
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    Available at: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/mitigating-malware-and-ransomware-attacks
    [Accessed 16 May 2023].
  • OCED, 2015. New Approaches to SME and Entrepreneurship Financing: Broadening the Range of Instruments, s.l.: OCED.
  • Popoola, S. I., 2017. Ransomware: Current Trend, Challenges, and Research Directions, s.l.: Manchester Metropolitan University.
  • Sittig, D. F., 2016. A Socio-Technical Approach to Preventing, Mitigating, and Recovering from Ransomware Attacks. Appl Clin Inform, 7(2), p. 624–632.
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  • Tiu, Y. L., 2021. Study on Prevention and Solution of Ransomware Attack. Journal of IT in Asia , 9(1), pp. 133-139.
  • Wall, D. S. & Lang, M. &. O. E., 2020. An empirical study of ransomware attacks on organizations: an assessment of severity and salient factors affecting vulnerability. Journal of Cybersecurity, 6(1).
  • Zimba, A., 2019. On the Economic Impact of Crypto-ransomware Attacks: The State of the Art on Enterprise Systems. European Journal for Security Research, 4(5).
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