Identity of Medibank hacker revealed as government imposes cyber sanctions

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Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong confirmed on Tuesday that the 2022 Medibank cyber attack was the work of a Russian citizen and cyber-criminal, Aleksandr Gennadievich Ermakov.
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In late 2022, Australia’s largest private health insurer, Medibank, was hit by a cyber attack, which saw the personal data of its customers (including names, addresses, birth dates and contact information) stolen by hackers.

And on Tuesday, foreign affairs minister Penny Wong revealed the hacker behind the attack was Russian citizen Aleksandr Ermakov.

“As you might recall, more than nine million records of Australians, including names, dates of birth, Medicare numbers and sensitive information were stolen in the 2022 attack and the majority published on the dark web. It was an egregious violation, it impacted some of the most vulnerable members of the Australian community,” Wong said.

“I can confirm that thanks to the hard work of the Australian Signals Directorate and the AFP, we have linked Russian citizen and cyber-criminal Alexander Ermakov to the attack.”

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Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles and Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil also confirmed on Tuesday that the Government would use Australia’s cyber sanction laws for the first time, in an “unprecedented step”.

The Government posted a sanctions notice to its legislative instruments site overnight, citing Ermakov, who also went by the names Alexander Ermakoc, GustaveDore, aiiis_ermak, blade_runner or JimJones, as the designated receiver of the sanction.

“The sanctions that are put in place on Alexander Ermakov today and publicly naming him will have an enormous impact on his activities and send a very strong message to cyber-criminals around the world that we mean business,” Marles said.

“Medibank have been incredibly open in the way they have engaged with ASD [Australian Signals Directorate]. This has been fundamentally important in allowing ASD to do its work. And it’s a really good example of how companies being willing to share this really sensitive information with ASD allows the investigations to occur in a way that’s ended up with the result that we have today.”

More to come.

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