World

Australia loses sensitive defense data in an 'extreme' hacking incident

12 Oct 2017 | By Anupama Vijayakumar

Hackers have reportedly stolen sensitive information related to Australia's defense programs.

The hackers were able to get their hands on about 30 GB of data related to Australia's newly acquired fighter planes and naval vessels.

Government sources said the stolen data was "commercially-sensitive, but not classified."

Cyber-security officials have nicknamed the hacker "Alf" after a popular TV character.

Here's more on the breach.

In context: Australia loses defense data in hacking incident

12 Oct 2017Australia loses sensitive defense data in an 'extreme' hacking incident

Who did it?

The identity of the hacker is currently unknown. "It could be one of a number of different actors," said Australia's Defense Industry Minister Chris Pyne. "It could be a state actor, [or] a non-state actor. It could be someone who was working for another company."

DetailsWhat do we know about the incident so far?

The breach reportedly commenced in July 2016. It has been described as "extensive and extreme" by the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD).

Hackers accessed information related to Australia's C-130 transport aircraft, P-8 Poseidon surveillance aircraft, and a few naval vessels.

Leaked data also concerns Australia's new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program.

The hackers reportedly exploited a weakness in the software that the defense contractor used.

ConclusionAustralian minister: "We will get to the bottom of this"

Pyne stated that the incident was a "salutary reminder" on Australia's cyber-security.

He said the government doesn't consider the hacked defense contracting firm responsible for the leak.

"It is very serious and we'll get to the bottom of it," he added.

Pyne also said that the government cannot reveal the identity of the hackers to the public, as the investigation involves "confidential information."