At last, wool auctions set to resume after cyber hacking

Wool auctions finally set to resume after cyber attack

UPDATED
News
NO SALE: Today's Melbourne wool sales have been cancelled.

NO SALE: Today's Melbourne wool sales have been cancelled.

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Today's Melbourne wool sales have been cancelled because of a cyber attack on the industry's main software supplier.

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UPDATED

Wool auctions are finally set to resume tomorrow across Australia after a cyber attack on Tuesday last week on the selling system's main software supplier, Talman.

Sales had to be abandoned in Melbourne today as Talman staff scrambled to achieve a fix.

Almost 70,000 bales were scheduled for sale this week in Melbourne (36,000), Sydney (18,076) and Fremantle (15,855).

Melbourne's three-day sale will now have to be fitted into two days if the Talman systems, which are used by most brokers and buyers, are fully restored in time.

Frustration is building within the grower sector both about the disruption to sales and the lack of communication about progress on fixing the problem.

GROWERS DESERVE BETTER: Australian Wool Innovation CEO, Stuart McCullough, said growers deserve a secure wool selling system safe from hackers.

GROWERS DESERVE BETTER: Australian Wool Innovation CEO, Stuart McCullough, said growers deserve a secure wool selling system safe from hackers.

Australian Wool Innovation CEO, Stuart McCullough, said producers had been warning about the potential for such attacks since 2014.

A specific warning about the risk of having the wool selling system reliant on a single provider was contained in the final report of the AWI-commissioned Wool Selling System Review in early 2016.

CEO of the peak national grower body, WoolProducers Australia, Jo Hall, said it was concerning that nobody to her knowledge seemed to have addressed the weakness.

Ms Hall said growers hadn't been getting any real communication about the cancellation of sales although she was sure individual brokers were keeping their clients up to date.

She said WoolProducers supported Mr McCullough's statement yesterday that growers deserved a secure, tamper-proof selling system.

Mr McCullough said the prolonged drought meant many growers were under extreme cash flow pressure.

"They are suffering and deserve to be able to offer to sell their wool when they wish and not be put off due to the failure of an offshore-based system.

"Growers deserve a robust selling system that is not vulnerable to attack," Mr McCullough said.

Executive director of the National Council of Wool Selling Brokers of Australia, Chris Wilcox, said the main issue now was getting the system up and running again.

"Everybody is is a bit frustrated, of course, but we've just got to work with what we've got, unfortunately.

"The industry will need to do an autopsy of what happened here and make plans to set up a system that may be better at handling these kinds of attacks," he said.

Meanwhile, major wool buyer, Fox & Lillie Rural, this week told its clients the company would be honouring all payments from the week 34 sales.

Jonathan Lillie said the cyber attack meant the company was unlikely to receive full payment from all exporters but would make full payments to growers to help them meet their creditor commitments.

Mr Lillie said it had been suggested the culprits behind the cyber attack had sought a $8 million ransom from Talman.

"Payment of this ransom is not under consideration by Talman," he said.

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