The government has given the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) the go-ahead use its \u2018offensive cyber capabilities\u2019 to fight offshore cyber crooks.\nDan Tehan, the minister assisting PM Malcolm Turnbull said on Friday that the government has directed the ASD to \u201cuse its cyber capabilities to disrupt, degrade, deny and deter offshore criminals."\nThe government publicly acknowledged the ASD\u2019s offensive cyber capability when it launched Australia\u2019s Cyber Security Strategy in April 2016.\n\u201cThe use of this capability, which is currently used to help target, disrupt and defeat terrorist organisations such as Daesh, is subject to stringent legal oversight and consistent with our obligations under international law,\u201d Tehan said.\n\u201cThe use of offensive cyber capabilities will add to the government\u2019s crime-fighting arsenal and form part of our broader strategy to prevent and shut down safe havens for offshore cyber criminals.\u201d\nTehan said the ASD\u2019s response to cyber threats \u2013 such as the WannaCry and Petya ransonware attacks \u2013 should not just be defensive.\n \n\u201cWe must take the fight to the criminals,\u201d he said. \u201cCyber criminals continue to adapt and evolve their methods and tactics, increasingly employing new methods to gain access to a victim and extort funds. As their level of sophistication has improved, cyber criminals are increasingly targeting businesses directly.\u201d\nIt is estimated that cybercrime costs the Australian economy $1 billion per year. Since its inception at the end of 2014, there have been more than 114,000 reports of cybercrime registered with the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network. The government said that 23,700 of these have been reported over the last 6 months.