The government has called time on a four-month incident response effort stemming from the attack on law firm HWL Ebsworth, and confirmed the scale of the incident for the first time.
National Cyber Security Coordinator, Air Marshal Darren Goldie, said in a statement that the coordinated response to the incident had “reached an appropriate juncture to conclude” the efforts.
“HWL Ebsworth [is] now able to manage its response without formal assistance from the Australian government,” Goldie wrote.
“In total, coordinated Australian government assistance lasted 16 weeks.
“We stand ready to reactivate formal coordinated support if the incident evolves.”
The impact of the incident on government departments and agencies had previously been reported as “more than 40” entities impacted.
How much over the 40 was never clear; but Goldie in his statement put the figure at 65.
“As of September 18 2023, a total of 65 Australian Government entities have been impacted, as direct clients of the firm through its legal and consulting services,” he wrote.
In addition, Goldie noted that there were “a large number of private sector clients” of the law firm that were also impacted.
Sensitive personal and government information was known to have been impacted in the incident.
Goldie added that there would be lessons for both government and industry to take from the incident, particularly around “how we can more effectively respond to and rebound from future cyber incidents.”
“I will now lead a thorough review with HWL Ebsworth and relevant stakeholders from the Australian government, states and territories into lessons learned from the incident response,” Goldie wrote.
“This review will further inform the way Australian Government, states and territories deal with future attacks.”