Australians who have fallen victim to cybercrime will be able to report the incident online via a new site called the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN).
ACORN is a joint project between the Attorney-General’s Department, CrimTrac, the Australian Crime Commission, federal, state and territory police.
Crimes that can be reported include hacking, online scams, fraud and ransomware demands. The website also offers people advice about how to avoid getting hacked or scammed by cybercriminals.
“Many instances of cybercrime go unreported because victims either do not know where to report, don’t think it is worth reporting or are reluctant to do so,” federal justice minister Michael Keenan said in a statement.
“ACORN will provide a secure means to report cybercrime incidents, and will refer reports to the right law enforcement agency for consideration and possible investigation.”
Keenan said ACORN will also help Australian Federal Police (AFP), state and territory police understand the types of online crimes affecting Australians and Australian businesses. This will enable police to develop improved tactical and strategic responses to key cybercrime threats.
Queensland Police Service (QPS) Fraud and Cybercrime Group Detective Superintendent Brian Hay welcomed the launch of ACORN.
“It is only by having these crimes reported to us that we can work to prevent these crimes and ensure our response is adequate and effective,” he said in a statement.
“For us [QPS] the majority of these crimes fall into the identity theft, malware or ransomware attacks on computers. These types of crimes cost Queenslanders many millions of dollars and as such, they are crimes we are committed to preventing and investigating.”
ACORN is part of the Attorney-General’s Department's National Plan to Combat Cybercrime.
The plan commits the federal, state and territory governments to the following initiatives:
- Educating the community to protect themselves
- Partnering with industry to tackle the shared problem of cybercrime
- Fostering an intelligence-led approach and better information sharing
- Improving the capacity and capability of government agencies to address cybercrime
- Strengthening international engagement on cybercrime
- Ensuring the criminal justice framework keeps pace with technological change.
Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick