An Australian tax office is asking for help after finding that many web hosting companies in the country are not registered.
Key points:An Australian Tax office says its web hosting services are not properly secured and could fall into the hands of criminalsThe Australian Tax Commissioner says the website of a company that offers web hosting to Australians was taken down in MarchThe agency is seeking advice from the ACCC, which is investigating whether there are any legal loopholes that could allow criminals to exploit the services.
The agency said in a statement that it is aware of several web hosting sites that are registered in Australia but it does not know who has access to the servers.
“These sites may be vulnerable to cyber criminals who could potentially misuse the data they store and potentially exploit the website to generate revenue for their criminal activity,” the statement said.
“The ACCC’s inquiries are focused on ensuring that Australians have confidence that their personal information is being properly safeguarded and that Australians are not vulnerable to fraud or cyber crime.”
The agency has already raised concerns with several of the Australian internet service providers who provide hosting services to the country.
“Some hosting providers do not comply with the Australian Computer Emergency Response Act, which requires them to take security measures to protect personal information and data they hold in Australia,” the ACCCA said in the statement.
“They also have the obligation to provide reasonable assurance to Australian residents that their data is secure.”
It said it is looking into whether there is any legal loophole that could enable criminals to use the services and said it would be contacting the hosting companies.
“We will be looking at whether the providers have any additional information on their web hosting policies or procedures, including any notices to customers that may be required to be posted on their websites,” it said.
An Australian Cybercrime Unit officer has also taken steps to protect Australians’ online security by warning users of the possibility of identity theft and hacking attacks.
“Cybercriminals can use legitimate services to obtain payment, transfer credit cards and receive money from online users,” the Cybercrime Division said in an emailed statement.
“They are also capable of using compromised computers to take over online accounts.”
However, they can also be vulnerable when accessing legitimate websites or accessing the websites of third parties.
“If you are in Australia, it’s best to check with your hosting provider or a local cybercrime victim support service to ensure you’re protected.