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National cyber security coordinator concludes formal response to HWL Ebsworth hack

Australia’s national cyber security coordinator has declared that law firm HWL Ebsworth is now in a position to manage its response to a hack that saw multiple organisations and government agencies see their data breached earlier this year.

user iconDavid Hollingworth 20 September 2023 Big Law
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Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on Lawyers Weekly’s sister brand, Cyber Security Connect.

Over a period of three months, data from more than 40 government departments, the big four banks, Optus, and more was confirmed compromised. Ransomware gang ALPHV took responsibility for the headline-grabbing hack.

National cyber security coordinator Air Marshal Darren Goldie made the announcement on 18 September, via a post on LinkedIn, saying the 16-week period of assistance is now over.


“I have determined we have reached an appropriate juncture to conclude the formal coordinated Australian government response to this cyber incident,” Air Marshal Goldie said, “with HWL Ebsworth now able to manage its response without formal assistance from the Australian government”.

“Individual agencies will continue to assist affected clients, and we stand ready to reactivate formal coordinated support if the incident evolves.”

According to Air Marshal Goldie, “prompt action” by both HWL Ebsworth and the Australian government allowed experts to attend to the incident. The Australian Federal Police and Victoria Police are continuing to investigate the incident.

Air Marshal Goldie also went to pains to point out this was a single incident affecting many victims.

“I stress that these agencies were clients of HWL Ebsworth and did not suffer a cyber incident themselves,” Air Marshal Goldie said.

The national cyber security coordinator will now lead a “thorough review” with HWL Ebsworth and other stakeholders on the lessons that can be learnt from the incident.

“This review will further inform the way Australian government, states and territories deal with future attacks,” Air Marshal Goldie said.

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