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A Phishing Pandemic (and Offensive): Part III

As noted in part I of this blog, various reports have highlighted the significant increase in phishing scams in light of the global COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, there has been an increase in coronavirus-related emails and SMS messages that are embedded with malicious links or documents, created for the purposes of stealing personal information (among other things), usually for financial gain. In order to stop the spread (pardon the pun) of such virus-inspired phishing scams, the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) has confirmed that it has launched an offensive against malicious attackers located offshore.

In a media release published by the Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC noted that the ASD has launched the offensive against offshore attackers and has already successfully disrupted their activities by “disabling their infrastructure and blocking their access to stolen information”. Minister Reynolds also confirmed that some of the phishing attacks involved the attackers posing as health officials and using malware to infect vulnerable Australians’ computers in order to steal their personal information.

As part of its offensive against phishing attacks, the ASD’s Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) is working closely with telecommunication companies in order to block access to websites identified as malicious. The ACSC is also working with web-browser companies, such as Google, to have the websites flagged as malicious in order to warn web-users prior to visiting the websites.

While we are likely to continue to see further surges in phishing scams during the pandemic, the ASD’s offensive against malicious offshore actors has only just begun and is expected to bring about a reduction in successful viral (of the electronic kind) attacks.

Copyright 2022 K & L GatesNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 112

About this Author

Cameron Abbott, Technology, Attorney, Australia, corporate, KL Gates Law Firm

Mr. Abbott is a corporate lawyer who focuses on technology, telecommunications and broadcasting transactions. He assists corporations and vendors in managing their technology requirements and contracts, particularly large outsourcing and technology procurements issues including licensing terms for SAP and Oracle and major system integration transactions.

Mr. Abbott partners with his clients to ensure market leading solutions are implemented in to their businesses. He concentrates on managing and negotiating complex technology solutions, which...

Rob Pulham Corporate Attorney K&L Gates
Special Counsel

Rob Pulham is an experienced corporate advisory and transactional lawyer with an active technology and privacy practice representing companies in the energy, manufacturing, mining, retail, health and financial services sectors, as well as government and not for profit organisations. He has extensive experience advising customers and vendors in the technology industry, with particular focus on software licensing, data privacy and protection, and systems integration projects. In his role as a senior corporate lawyer, Mr. Pulham reviews organisational policies and practices...

Senior Attorney

Ms. Aggromito is a senior lawyer in the lawyer in the Melbourne commercial technology and sourcing team focusing on IT, privacy and data protection.

Rebecca Gill Commercial Technology and Sourcing Lawyer Melbourne K&L Gates

Ms. Gill is a lawyer in our Corporate and Transactional team at the Melbourne office.

Primary Practice

Commercial Technology and Sourcing


  • J.D., Melbourne School of Law University of Melbourne, 2018
  • B.A., University of Melbourne, 2014
  • Certificate I in Vocational Preparation, Australian Employment and Training Solutions, 2014