Face, meet palm.

It’s currently being reported that Federal Group are the victims of a ransomware attack that has:

impacted its pokies machines and hotel bookings system for more than a week.

Which has, perhaps predictably, led to some really bad takes on the #politas hashtag:

Excellent news, and some respite for children and families being damaged by pokies addiction. #politas

Yikes. That’s from the leader of the Greens.

Let’s get some things out of the way:

  1. I don’t use the pokies.
  2. I don’t like the pokies.
  3. I would very happily see poker machines banned in Tasmania. Not restricted to casinos; banned. Gone. No more, anywhere. I’d be very happy to see it.
  4. The Labor policy on poker machines - which they have since abandoned, was a good one.
  5. I am no fan of Federal Group - where’s the Port Arthur hotel at guys?
  6. I am NOT pleased about the idea of ongoing monopolies and secret tax deals for Federal.

Am I painting a picture here? Yet even so, I’m not cheering on a ransomware attack, even if I can see the attraction of a little schadenfreude.

I don’t claim to be a cybersecurity expert but I do think I’ve got a better grasp on it than your typical #politas user. Ransomware crews are NOT your friends.

Why were Federal targeted? We don’t have any attribution yet but here’s some potential reasons:

  1. A sprawling network (i.e. a target rich environment), and - more importantly,
  2. They’re rich

That is, they can afford to pay. That’s it. Nothing to do with them being “evil”, or profiting from misery or anything. Say it with me: This isn’t hacktivism, and this is one time when the enemy of your enemy is most assuredly not your friend.

It’s all about money. Will the people cheering on the Federal attackers feel the same when a ransomware crew takes down a Tasmanian hospital or school? Because no-one should think for a moment that it won’t or can’t happen. Be careful what you wish for.