Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews.
Image: Tracey Nearmy/Getty Images
Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews introduced three new Bills into Parliament on Thursday, covering the federal government’s ransomware action plan, critical aviation and marine cybersecurity, and mobile phone access in prisons.
The first of the three Bills contains criminal law reforms announced in October last year as part of Home Affairs’ ransomware action plan to create tougher penalties for cybercriminals. Chief among these penalties are an increased maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment for cybercriminals that use ransomware and a new maximum penalty of 25 years’ imprisonment for criminals that target Australia’s critical infrastructure.
Labelled by Home Affairs Secretary Mike Pezzullo earlier this week as the government’s “offence” against cyber threats, the Bill also seeks to criminalise individuals buying and selling malware for the purpose of committing a computer offence and dealing with stolen data.
The Bill, if passed, would also expand law enforcement’s ability to monitor, freeze, and seize ill-gotten gains of criminals to also cover digital assets, including those held by digital currency exchanges.
According to Andrews, the reforms are a response to the growing threat of malicious cyber attacks.
“This Bill gives Australian law enforcement agencies the legal