Aleksander Ermakov revealed as hacker; cyber sanctions announced

Marles praised Medibank for its openness with ASD, while also confirming the government worked with companies such as Microsoft and overseas partners in the United States and United Kingdom to investigate the hacker.


“There is an enormously powerful effect which can be brought to bear in holding cybercriminals to account and the sanctions that have been put in place on Aleksandr Ermakov today and publicly naming him will have an enormous impact on his activities and send a very strong message to cybercriminals around the world that we mean business,” Marles said.

The Medibank hack was the “single most devastating” cyberattack the nation has experienced, O’Neil said, as it helped the government understand the enormous cost this problem has on Australians.

“It also showed us something about the calibre of people we are dealing with in terms of this problem … these people are cowards, and they are scumbags, they hide behind technology,” she said.

Aleksandr Ermakov.

Aleksandr Ermakov.Credit: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Who is Aleksandr Ermakov?

Ermakov is a Russian citizen and cybercriminal who was identified under a joint operation by the ASD and AFP. The naming of Ermakov was part of the ASD’s approach to disrupt the business of Russian cybercriminal syndicates.

Deputy director-general Abigail Bradshaw said identifying Ermakov would affect Russian cybercriminal syndicates and gangs that were dynamic and had multiple partners.

“We know a lot about Mr Ermakov through our analysis and what we do know is that cybercriminals trade in anonymity, it is a selling quality and so naming and identifying with the confidence that we have from our technical analysis will most certainly do harm to Mr Ermakov’s cyber business,” she said.

Australia has also imposed further counterterrorism and financing sanctions on 12 persons and three entities who are linked to Hamas, Hezbollah and the Palestine Islamic Jihad.

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