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Ahead of laws being passed to better protect the country’s critical infrastructure from cyber attacks, Australia’s counter-espionage agency ASIO warned that adversaries could be targeting energy and telecommunications grids for future attacks, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

In ASIO’s annual report tabled in Federal Parliament mid-October, ASIO Director General Mike Burgess warned attacks remain “unacceptably high”.

Cyberwar: the new reality, beyond cyber espionage and sabotage

In 2017, Ukraine was hit by a mysterious blackout closing down ATMs, trains, airports and TV stations, and eventually paralysing hospitals and companies from London to Denver, halting international shipping. It even hit the Cadbury factory in Tasmania.

The cause was a malicious computer code - or worm - traced back to Russia that ended up costing $12.9 billion in damage by the time it was stopped hours later.

Sherryn Groch at The Age explains what led to the world’s most expensive cyber attack, and why it could be our new reality.