Large Government-Linked Company Hit by Cyber Attack

Isentia, a high profile government-linked company that offers monitoring and analytics for a number of large clients has been hit by a cyber attack, which it is now investigating alongside the Australian cybersecurity agency. 

Isentia says on its website that the company has “most government departments and large corporates” on its books, and is now urgently investigating a cybersecurity incident that managed to successfully disrupt its services and has some cybersecurity analysts worried about its status as a government-linked company being hit by a potentially severe cyber attack.

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In a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange, Isentia confirmed that an investigation was underway after its media portal service – widely used by companies and individuals to check on media coverage of a specific topic or entity – was compromised. 

The company said it was “urgently investigating” the cyber attack that successfully managed to disrupt “services within its SaaS platform Mediaportal.” The company has said that “Isentia is working closely with leading external cyber security specialists to assess the extent of the incident and the impact on its systems,” adding that “the company has also notified the Australian Cyber Security Centre.”  

The Guardian is reporting that “the company had been hit by a ransomware attack, meaning its systems are encrypted and an attacker will only release it once the money is paid.” 

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Security researchers have noted that ransomware attacks being launched against organisations are becoming both more frequent and more severe in terms of the ransom being demanded by the attacker. One of the most recent reports from risk consultant group, Kroll says that ransomware attacks are the biggest threat to organisations, accounting for more than one-third of attacks launched by cyber criminals against companies. 

Isentia lists on its website high profile clients such as Singtel, AMP, Samsung, Seek and the Walt Disney Corporation, as well as “government agencies, Fortune 500 companies, small businesses and leading academic institutions.” 

Isentia’s Chief Executive, Ed Harrison has said that the company is “taking urgent steps to contain the incident and conduct a full investigation into what happened, and how to avoid a repeat occurrence in the future.” 

“Our priority is to restore full service as soon as possible but until that occurs, we have put processes in place to support our customers,” Harrison concluded. 

It’s being reported that Isentia’s share price dropped by nearly 3% upon confirming the security incident. 

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