Saturday, 21 October, 2017

Secret Info On F-35, Australian Naval Vessels Stolen In Cyber Hack

An Australian defence contractor was hacked last year it has been revealed An Australian defence contractor was hacked last year it has been revealed
Preston Stone | 12 October, 2017, 06:09

The ASD codenamed the hacker "Alf", a character played by Ray Meagher on Home and Away, Mr Clarke told the Australian Information Security Association conference.

About 30GB of data was compromised in the hack on a government contractor, including details about new fighter planes and navy vessels.

The Federal Government on Wednesday night emphasised the information was commercially sensitive, but not classified.

Since the breach was first revealed on Tuesday, speculation has been that a nation-state attacker was involved.

According to ASD incident response manager Mitchell Clarke, the cyber thief hacked into the network of a 50-person aerospace engineering firm that subcontracts to the Department of Defence.

Australian cyber security officials dubbed the mystery hacker "Alf", after a character on TV soap Home and Away.

"We don't necessarily let the public, hackers, and criminal actors know what we know about what they're doing".

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The data, stolen in a 2016 breach, included technical information on the multi-billion dollar F-35A Joint Strike Fighter program, smart bombs and naval vessels.

"It could be one of a number of different actors", Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne told the Australian Broadcasting Corp on Thursday. It could be a state actor, it could be a non-state actor.

Mr Clarke said the hack was "extensive and extreme" and took advantage of "sloppy" security at the contractor.

The secret information was restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), the U.S. system created to regulate the export of defence and military-related technologies, according to Mitchell Clarke, an incident response manager at the ASD who worked on the case.

The subcontractor was revealed as using software that hadn't been updated for 12 months as well as username-password combinations, "admin-admin" and "guest-guest".

Slattery said Webroot's own research indicated a cyberattack on an Australian business with between 100 and 500 staff would cost an average of $1.9 million.

ASD officials began repairing the system in December. ASD refers to the three months between the attacker gaining access, and the ASD becoming aware of it, as "Alf's Mystery Happy Fun Time".

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