Two Victorian men have been charged following an investigation into what police claim were denial of service attacks against “Australian government infrastructure”.
The automated attacks targeted police telephone systems, a joint statement issued by the Australian Federal Police and Victoria Police said.
The investigation into the alleged incidents was launched in November following a “wave” of telephone system attacks in October, police said.
The automated attacks involved repeatedly calling numbers in an attempt to tie up police phone lines.
Over the weekend police executed search warrants at three Bendigo premises. A 28-year-old man who allegedly masterminded the attacks faces five charges including unauthorised access to data held in a computer, which carries a sentence of up to 10 years’ jail, and sabotage, which can result in a prison sentence of up to 25 years.
A 27-year-old man has been charged with possessing an unregistered firearm.
“Each occasion a police phone line was unavailable as result of these malicious attacks meant members of the public were unable to access a vital service,” said AFP acting commander cybercrime operations, Chris Goldsmid
“This had serious implications for the broader community.
“Some of the attacks included a spate of text messages asking for emergency assistance,” Goldsmid said.
“People who called the number back reported being verbally abused by a recording on the other end. This created fear, distress and anxiety amongst some of the most vulnerable in our community.”
“We had a number of police stations in Victoria that were affected, so we know our local communities were directly impacted,” said the officer in charge of Victoria Police’s E-Crime Squad, Detective Acting Inspector Greg Lee.