Australian Domain Manager auDA Denies Data Breach Amid Ransomware Gang’s Claim

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In a recent development, the organization responsible for managing Australia’s internet domain .au, the au Domain Administration (auDA), has denied falling victim to a data breach following claims by the NoEscape ransomware gang. 

The gang asserted that it had successfully breached auDA’s security and pilfered approximately 15 GB of sensitive data, which included personal information. 

auDA, the administrator of the .au domain name system, oversees over 4 million registered domain names and holds the status of “Australian critical infrastructure.” The NoEscape gang’s attack was announced on August 11, raising concerns about potential disruptions to the .au domain.

While NoEscape’s claims ignited an investigation, auDA promptly responded by releasing a statement on Friday refuting any evidence of a breach. The organization acknowledged the alleged infringement but stated, “We have found no evidence of such a breach.” 

The investigation is ongoing, and auDA collaborates with cybersecurity professionals to assess the situation.

Upon the attack, auDA contacted various Australian governmental bodies, including the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), the Department of Home Affairs, and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) to address the issue. Evidence provided by the gang includes screenshots of a file list from a computer. However, experts from CyberKnow noted that certain data claimed to be taken might be outside auDA’s jurisdiction.

The NoEscape gang, also known as N0_Esc4pe, has garnered notoriety due to their involvement in high-profile attacks, including targeting institutions such as the German Federal Bar Association and Hawaii Community College. While concerns have arisen about the potential impact on the global LNG market due to potential disruptions, auDA’s investigation concluded that the breach originated from an Australian sole trader, dispelling cybercriminal access to their systems or data.

This incident has illuminated the importance of cybersecurity in critical infrastructures and the need for organizations to stay vigilant against ransomware threats.

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