Approximately 30GB of data was compromised during a hack on a government contractor. The data extracted included details about new fighter planes and navy vessels.
Fortunately for the country, the data while extremely sensitive, was not classified. However, the government of Australia is uncertain as to the perpetrators of the crime.
Australia’s cyber security has dubbed the mystery hacker, “Alf”, after the beloved Australian TV soap Home and Away.
Speaking to the Australian Broadcasting Corp, the country’s Defense Industry Minister Christopher Pyne said, “It could be a state actor, a non-state actor. It could be someone who was working for another company.”
However, he added that the theft did not pose any sort of risk to national security.
According to reports, the breach in the company began in July 2016, but, the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) was not alerted until November 2016.
At a security conference in Sydney, ASD’s Mitchell Clark said that the software used by the government contractor was relatively weak.
He added that the firm had neglected to update the software for over 12 months. Additionally, Mr. Clark stated that the firm in question did not create strong passwords for the software used, relying instead on default passwords. The government has since distanced itself from the firm.
Despite the firm’s folly, Mr. Pyne refused to lay blame solely on the firm saying it was unfair to blame a small enterprise for having lax cyber security.
The information leaked was only commercial and not military, hence, there was minimum harm done.
However, he added that the incident was a “salutary reminder” about cyber security.