Joint Strike Fighter plans stolen in Australia cyber attack

Hacker group codenamed 'Alf' after famous Home and Away character steals sensitive information about Australia's multi-billion dollar fighter jet program

At least 30GB of sensitive data has been stolen by the hackers in the cyber-attack on the contractor of the government, the stolen data includes details about the new fighter jets and navy vessels.

ASD incident response manager Mitchell Clarke told a conference in Sydney on Wednesday the hackers targeted a small "mum and dad type business" - an aerospace engineering company with about 50 employees in July previous year.

However, he said "we don't necessarily let the public know" about the identities of hackers, because of the confidential nature of the environment.

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 have been a state actor, it could have been cyber criminals, and that's why it was taken so seriously", he said.

The ASD codenamed the hacker "Alf", a character played by Ray Meagher on Home and Away, Mr Clarke told the Australian Information Security Association conference.

The hack was discovered by a major Defence contractor.

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

Nadal wins sixth title of year
Garcia saved a match point in her three-set quarterfinal victory over third-seeded Elina Svitolina of Ukraine. The No. 1 player in the world, Rafael Nadal continued to dominate in 2017, and he clinched one more title.

More specifically, Clarke said initial access was gained by exploiting a 12-month-old vulnerability in the sub-contractor's IT Helpdesk Portal.

The data was not classified but was commercially sensitive in nature, according to the Australian Cyber Security Centre. This is not rocket science but does require resources.

According to Mitchell Clarke, the hacked company was rather small and was subcontracted four levels down from the defense contracts.

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".

But he said the small business's IT infrastructure was now secure.

"Su Bin admitted to playing an important role in a conspiracy, originating in China, to illegally access sensitive military data, including data relating to military aircraft that are indispensable in keeping our military personnel safe", John P. Carlin, then the US assistant attorney general for national security, said at the time.

As cyber security experts backed the minister's call, Mr Pyne deflected blame from the government, arguing ultimate responsibility lies with the company that was breached. "Which means that, in the inevitability of a breach occurring, the data to which hackers can gain access is constrained".

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