Australia Security Threats

Data and information about security threats from the black market in Australia. Threat data and security information collected from intelligence and security agencies, news articles and other public information sources.

At the start of 2015, media reports place the average ransomware demand to be $500.

This figure is based upon several public sources.

The first source is based upon a writer in the New York Times who stated that her mother was a victim of ransomware. The authors mother had her computer locked up based on CryptoWall. After encrypting the computer, the malware demanded $500 to be paid by Bitcoins release the hold. If the amount wasn’t paid by the end of the week, then the demand would increase to $1,000.

The second source is from a report by The Economist. In its article, the magazine reports that the average ransom has fallen from $800 several years ago. It uses examples of extortion victims who paid $644 (€510) in Italy, and a sheriffs office in Tennessee that paid $572 to recover thousands of files that were encrypted. The Economist also states that between August and December 2014, around 16,000 people paid $7 Million (8 Million Australian Dollars) after their computers were encrypted with ransomware.

The owner of the Bitcoin wallet that received the ransom in Italy received up to $109,400 worth of bitcoins in following 8 days after the ransomware was discovered.

Source:  Alina Simone, “How My Mom Got Hacked,” New York Times, January 2, 2015.

Source:  “Your money or your data,” Economist, January 15, 2015.

Reports by criminal justice programs in Australia found that drug trafficking activities in the country were increasing and that the arrests and seizures for illegal drugs reached an all time high.

In the Fiscal Year of 2012-2013, security personnel in Australia arrested 101,749 people for drug crimes. During the course of their investigations, police made 86,918 seizures of illegal drugs during the past year, which was a 66 percent increase over the past decade.

Marijuana is the most seized drug in Australia.

The second most popular drug in Australia was methamphetamine, where police saw a 300 percent increase in seizures from the year before.

Cocaine and steroids also saw record high seizure rates in Australia last year.

Source: AFP, “Australia warns meth pandemic as drug busts hit record,” Bangkok Post, April 29, 2014.

According to the Business Software Association, 16 cases of businesses using pirated software were settled in Australia in 2013. The fines and settlements paid out by the businesses totaled $483,785 (536,050 Australian). The settlements paid out for pirated software was 20 percent higher than the amount paid out in 2012.

The BSA reported that almost a third of the business that were caught using pirated software were architectural firms and companies in the design industry.

Back in 2012, engineering firms accounted for nearly half of all companies caught using pirated software in Australia.

Source:  Hannah Francis, “Business software piracy hits record,” Business Spectator, February 18, 2014.

A drug dealer in Australia stated that he makes up to $30,000 (35,000 Australian Dollars) a week selling cocaine to users across the country.

(Income from illegal jobs.)

Criminal justice programs in Australia have reported that the amount of cocaine entering the country has increased in recent years. In 2011, border security officials detected 486 incidents of cocaine entering Australia. In 2012, the number of cocaine detections increased to 979. In addition to the increase in cocaine entering the county, drug dealers have stated that they have enough cocaine stockpiled to last 18 months.

It was previously reported that the cocaine abusers in Australia had a higher than average income. However, authorities in Australia have found that cocaine use is spreading out to working class areas.

(How much does cocaine cost?)

Source:  “Cocaine has become Sydney’s drug of choice with drug dealers reaping up to $35,000 a week from users,” News.co.au, February 1, 2014.

Data from the Australian Crime Commission shows that there are more people arrested for steroid use in Queensland than in any other state in Australia.

58 percent of all steroids arrests in Australia in 2011 to 2012 took place in Queensland. According to preliminary data collected from national criminal justice programs, Queensland will also have the most steroids arrests when the 2012-2013 report is released. In neighboring state New South Wales, 74 percent of young men who used illegal drugs used steroids.

Security officials state that many young men are traveling to Thailand in order to obtain steroids. The men stay in Thailand for 3 to 6 months to complete a cycle of steroids. In addition to Thailand, men purchase steroids on the black market from biker gangs (bikies) in Australia, or from dealers in local gyms.

Police stress that the men who are taking steroids are not taking them for any athletic competition, but rather to improve their image. Users have been found to combine the steroids with methamphetaminesto lose weight. These users then go to nightclubs in the Gold Coast in order to show off their new bodies. The steroids, which causes mood swings, combined with ice and alcohol has lead to reports of violence in Gold Coast. Police have reported that up to six officers were needed to restrain a man high on the combination who got out of control.

(Additional facts about meth users.)

Source:  Daniel Meers, “Cocktail of steroids, ice and alcohol breeding ‘super thugs’ behind street violence,” Courier Mail, January 25, 2014.

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, organized crime groups that facilitate human smuggling are able to generate up to $109 Million a year from transporting illegal migrants around the world.

Most of the people that are smuggled are from Afghanistan and Pakistan, and are attempting to enter Australia by traveling by sea across the Indian Ocean. Many of the people that utilize these services are religious minorities who are escaping persecution and attempting to claim asylum in Australia.

There are also cases reported of Pakistani migrants who are smuggled to Europe. According to the UNODC, there have been incidents where the migrants have been caught holding fake id cards and counterfeit documents.

In addition, criminal justice departments in Pakistan have also seen an increase in people from Syria and Egypt using these human smuggling networks to escape the violence in their countries.

Source:  Ayaz Gul, “UN: Human Trafficking Increasing in Pakistan,” Voice of America, January 23, 2014.

A survey of 2,400 drug injecting users in Australia found that the taking of performance enhancing drugs increased sharply amongst young men in the country.

74 percent of people in New South Wales who started injecting drugs into their bodies injected performance and image enhancing drugs (PIEDs) in 2013.  In 2003, the number who started with PIEDs was 27 percent. Most of the PIEDs injected were steroids and are driven by young men.

While steroids use has increased, the rate of new meth injectors has declined. Back in 2006, up to 50 percent of new meth users by males injected the drug. In 2013, the rate of new injection rates for meth for men decreased to 11 percent.

(How much does a gram of meth cost?)

Source:  “Steroids now the drug of choice for young men”, 9 News, January 10, 2014.

(Prescription drug abuse statistics and information.)

In 2013, officers with various criminal justice programs in Australia charged 173 visitors of inmates with crimes for attempting to smuggling contraband into prisons. Nearly 600 people were additionally refused entry into the prison after being discovered to be carrying contraband. Most of the visitors who were charged or denied entry were women. The Commissioner of the Prison System stated that women are often pressured by their fathers, husbands, boyfriends or sons to bring in contraband when visiting.

Items prevented from entering the prisons included a total of 323 grans of marijuana, 1063 unidentified tablets, and 213 grams of unidentified powder.

In total, over 97,000 searchers were carried out by correction officers at NSW prisons in 2013.

Some of the methods of the attempted smuggling cases involved cutting out an encyclopedia to fill with drugs, filling a squash ball with marijuana and throwing the ball over the prison fence, and filling a balloon with tablets and hiding the balloon in a bra.

(More black market smuggling markets.)

Source:  Mark Morri, “Bring daddy his drugs: Smuggling crackdown in NSW prisons, as loved ones bring items in,” Telegraph Australia, January 8, 2014.

According to reader submitted information to Havocscope, the street price of a gram of heroin in Australian city of Perth is $500.

To buy a quarter gram, the reported price is $200, and for half a gram the street price is $350.

The submitted information was based upon street prices as of January 1, 2014.

The last reported price available from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime had the retail street price of heroin in Australia to be $50.4 per gram.

(How much does heroin cost?)

Source:  User Submitted Information to Havocscope, Received on January 2, 2014.

In 2012, security services in Sri Lanka seized a total of 33 pounds of drugs that were being trafficked.

In 2013, the amount of hard drugs seized increased to 660 pounds.

Criminal justice officials believe that most of the drugs originate from India, and the traffickers use Sri Lanka as a transit hub for shipments to Australia.

Source:  AFP, “Sri Lanka emerging as a heroin transit hub,” Emirates 24/7, December 17, 2013.