The Government Named A Hacker After Alf From "Home & Away" Because Australia

13 October, 2017, 00:56 | Author: Earnest Huff
  • 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

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

Mr Pyne said the stolen information was not classified and a major defence company had alerted the contractor and government to the breach.

Late previous year a hack was perpetrated on what is called a "partner organization" that worked with the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD).

ASD when they investigated the hack found a China Chopper remote shell, a backdoor commonly used by Chinese hackers, and Clarke said that ASD found that the Alf hacker had been attempting to use this exploit on a number of Australian IT companies.

When asked about the incident on ABC RN Breakfast this morning, defence industry minister Christopher Pyne stressed that it was not military secrets stolen. It could be a state actor or a non-state actor. "It could be a state actor, a non-state actor, it could have been someone who was working for another company".

Approximately 30GB of data was compromised during a hack on a government contractor. The time period between July and November when the contractor was unaware of the hack is being called "Alf's Mystery Happy Fun Time".

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"Today, while presenting at a conference in Sydney, an ASD official disclosed information about the theft of data from an Australian company", a spokesman for the Australian Cyber Security Centre said.

"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. This is not rocket science but does require resources.

The report was published this week by Australia's Cyber Security Minister Dan Tehan. "Breach detection times are not reducing and with it taking between 120 and 150 days to be identify a threat, organisations need a way to limit the damage in the meantime". "Which means that, in the inevitability of a breach occurring, the data to which hackers can gain access is constrained".

"Security thinking needs to change; organisations need to move away from the concept of owned and unowned networks or infrastructure and consider only users, applications and secure access - and the security industry must facilitate that shift".

Mr Clarke described the security breach as "sloppy admin" and said the organisation only had one IT person. Nominations are now open for the Women in IT USA Awards 2018.

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