Australian defence contractor victim of cyberattack

10 October 2017

Australian defence contractor victim of cyberattack

Photo credit: Yuri Samoilov (Flickr) — CC BY 2.0 licence

An Australian defence contractor’s computer system was inflitrated by hackers in what could be a state-sanctioned cyberattack.

The attackers had access to the contractor’s IT network for an extended period and reportedly stole large amounts of data.

The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) discovered the attack in November 2016 and responded swiftly.

While Assistant Minister for Cyber Security Dan Tehan said the identity of the perpetrators was unclear, he said the Government was not ruling out a foriegn government.

“It could have been a state actor, it could have been cyber criminals, and that’s why it was taken so seriously,” he said.

“We’re not 100 per cent sure, and that’s one of the difficulties of this area.”

Mr Tehan withheld the length of time the attackers had access to the contractor’s system but assured it was now secure.

However, cyberattacks are increasing in both numbers and sophistication. This particular incident is one of 734 responded to by the ACSC in the last financial year.

The ACSC identified 47,000 cyber-related incidents last financial year (a 15% rise).

Major Australian businesses were the victims of 7,283 of those attacks.

The Australian Signals Directorate intelligence agency responded to 671 attacks.

“It is worrying, but the thing that is most concerning is that what we’re seeing is a growing sophistication in these attacks,” Mr Tehan said.