Australia has expressed concern over "malicious" hacking attacks from across the world by cybercriminals and state-based actors targeting its hospitals, medical services and facilities as well as crisis response organizations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The government "is concerned that malicious cyber actors are seeking to exploit the pandemic for their own gain," Australia's department of foreign affairs and its trade and cybersecurity center said in a joint statement Wednesday.
"The Australian government calls on all countries to cease immediately any cyber activity – or support for such activity," Tobias Feakin, Australia's ambassador for cyber affairs, said in the statement, without naming the countries involved.
Australia had agreed with other countries at the United Nations to cooperate on cybercrime and not knowingly allow their territory to be used for "internationally wrongful acts."
"We also urge all countries to exercise increased vigilance and take all reasonable measures to ensure that malicious cyber activity is not emanating from their territory," Feakin added, according to the statement.
Australia is also assisting regional neighbors to fortify cyber defenses during the coronavirus pandemic.
"The tradecraft used by malicious adversaries ranges from the simple to the very sophisticated," the Australian Cyber Security Centre's chief, Abigail Bradshaw, explained.
Earlier this month, the Australian Signals Directorate, which is part of the country's spy agency, warned that state-based hackers were actively targeting health sector organizations and medical research facilities amid the pandemic.
They "may be seeking information and intellectual property relating to vaccine development, treatments, research and responses to the outbreak," the center said.