The government is aiming to enhance the protection of government networks through the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) by blocking connections to malicious websites that contain threats, including ransomware, malware and other cyber dangers.
The Australian Protective Domain Name Service (AUPDNS) is a free opt-in service available to all federal, state and territory government entities who perform critical services for Australians.
Commonwealth, state, territory, and local government accounted for 35 per cent of cyber incidents in the 2020–21 financial year, according to Assistant Minister for Defence, Andrew Hastie MP, quoting data from the ACSC’s latest Annual Cyber Threat Report.
“The AUPDNS has already analysed over 10 billion queries and blocked over 1 million connections to malicious domains, and this technology formed part of the defensive suite that helped to protect this year’s digital census."
“Throughout the census, AUPDNS processed around 200 million queries a day and blocked more than 10,000 connections to known malicious domains, any one of which could have resulted in a phishing or ransomware attack."
“Currently AUPDNS is protecting over 200,000 users, and this number is growing,” Assistant Minister Hastie said.
AUPDNS is designed to automatically check incoming and outgoing network traffic against a list of high‑risk websites and email servers. This helps to prevent accidental access to harmful websites and fights malware that might be hidden on a government network to stop theft of sensitive data or deployment of destructive ransomware.
The Australian Cyber Security Centre partnered with Nominet Cyber to deliver this critical capability for the Australian government.
Information from AUPDNS also aims to build the ACSC’s national cyber threat picture which is shared with the community to protect every Australian.
Government networks provide the essential services that Australians rely upon, such as healthcare and education, Assistant Minister Hastie added.
AUPDNS is one of a number of initiatives introduced by the Australian government as part of the Cyber Security Strategy 2020 to help protect Australians, in addition to the ACSC’s pilot Critical Infrastructure Uplift Program to improve the security and resilience of Australia’s essential services.
"A single malicious connection could result in a government network being vulnerable to attack or compromise, so it’s vital we do everything we can to prevent cyber criminals from gaining a foothold,” Assistant Minister Hastie said.
Nastasha is a Journalist at Momentum Media, she reports extensively across veterans affairs, cyber security and geopolitics in the Indo-Pacific. Previously, she was a Content Producer at Verizon Media, a Digital Producer for Yahoo! and Channel 7, a Digital Journalist at Sky News Australia, as well as a Website Manager and Digital Producer at SBS Australia. She started her career in media as a Video Producer and Digital News Presenter at News Corp Australia.