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Australian Firefighting Service FRV Hacked by Vice Society Ransomware Crew


January 13, 2023

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Australian Firefighting Service FRV Hacked by Vice Society Ransomware Crew

Fire Rescue Victoria, a major firefighting service in the Australian state of Victoria, has allegedly lost troves of sensitive data to ransomware operators.

Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV) operates 85 fire and rescue stations across the state, including 47 fire stations in metropolitan Melbourne and 38 regional stations, mostly operated alongside volunteer brigades. FRV responds to fires, complex rescues, road crashes, emergency medical calls and hazardous chemical spills.

Visitors to frv.vic.au are greeted with the message “FRV is currently experiencing a widespread IT outage. This is not impacting on emergency response. Continue to call Triple Zero (000) when needed.”

In a data breach notice, the firefighting service reveals it has “suffered an eligible data breach as a result of the recent cyber-attack.” It isn’t clear when exactly the breach occurred, but FRV says it learned of the situation on Dec. 15.

The incident affected internal servers, including the service’s email system. According to the notice, FRV has grounds to believe that hackers have made off with personal information of current and former employees, individual contractors and secondees of FRV and the former Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board, as well as job applicants and others.

The data at stake includes full names, addresses, phone numbers, emails, health information, sensitive information like sexual orientation, race, religion, and employment history, bank account details, government-issued identity information, driver’s license details, passport details, tax file numbers, and more.

FRV strongly urges all current and former FRV Staff and job applicants to remain vigilant and take steps to protect their identity and credit profile, and offers a long list of recommendations to prevent phishing, ID theft, account takeovers and fraud.

Those impacted are directed to access free support from IDCARE, Australia’s national identity and cybersecurity community support service.

Vice Ransomware operators have claimed responsibility for the attack on their dark web leak site, posting a download link to the allegedly stolen data. According to Bleeping Computer, the link currently doesn’t yield any downloadable files.

While FRV continues to suffer a widespread IT outage as a result of the attack, the service assures citizens that community safety has not been compromised and that FRV continues to dispatch crews and appliances through mobile phones, pagers and radio.

Bitdefender Digital Identity Protection scans the web for unauthorized leaks of your personal data, monitoring whether your accounts are exposed and making it easy to take action before disaster strikes.




Filip has 15 years of experience in technology journalism. In recent years, he has turned his focus to cybersecurity in his role as Information Security Analyst at Bitdefender.

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