Sensitive Data on Australia's New Jets and Navy Stolen From Defense Contractor

A hacker group codenamed'Alf after the Home and Away character has broken into a defence contractor and stolen sensitive data on military projects

Some 30GB of "sensitive data" subjected to restricted access under the United States government's International Traffic in Arms Regulations rules was stolen, ASD's Mr Mitchell Clarke told a security conference Wednesday according to ZDNet.

The data is not classified, the government said, and it doesn't know if a state was involved.

Australia's admission of the damaging data breach in July 2016 was included as part of the 2017 Threat Report from the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC). Pyne also said the hacker is still unknown.

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

A state actor has not been ruled out and it has been reported that a hacking tool, known as the Chinese Chopper, was used.

Mr Pyne said Australia has experienced an increase in cyberattacks at a time when it is carrying out a $39bn (€25.7bn) submarine project.

Approximately 30GB of data was compromised during a hack on a government contractor.

He added that the "compromise was extensive and extreme".

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"Even in highly regulated environments, we still find default credentials and a lack of patching being one of the top root causes for system insecurity", says incident response expert David Stubley, who heads cybersecurity consultancy 7 Elements in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Australian Strategic Policy Institute head of cyber policy Fergus Hanson said Canberra had to be demanding on companies entrusted with secret data like defence contractors.

The admin password, to enter the company's web portal, was "admin" and the guest password was "guest".

Earlier this week, it emerged Australia has been subjected to 47,000 cyber incidents in the last 12 months - a 15% increase on the previous year.

Stephen Burke, founder and CEO at Cyber Risk Aware, commenting on the news, said: "Yet again another example of "IT Admin" not carrying out IT Security best practices but more importantly other large firms not carrying out adequate third-party risk assessments". "Collectively, the industry needs to embrace a new approach to security", said German.

"We need to decouple security from infrastructure and adopt a "zero trust" security model: to achieve access, a user needs to both see an application and be permitted to use it. Which means that, in the inevitability of a breach occurring, the data to which hackers can gain access is constrained".

Clarke described the breach Wednesday at an information security conference in Sydney, saying only one person managed all IT-related functions at the small business, and had only been in the position for nine months as staff turnover was high, ZDNet reports.

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