Sensitive Australian Defence Force Data Stolen By Hacker

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

Australian Defence Aircraft Data Hacked by “Partner Organisation” in 2016: ACSC

A mystery hacker has stolen information about Australia's warplanes from a defence subcontractor.

Australia's peak cyber security agency called a hacker who stole gigabytes of confidential defence data from a national security contractor after Alf Stewart from the long-running Australian soap opera Home & Away.

"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.

The stolen data was not classified military information, but it was described as "commercially sensitive".

The 50-person aerospace engineering firm subcontracts to the Defence Department and had one person managing its IT functions.

Pyne said that the incident was "reminder to everyone in the industry and the government" to take cyber security seriously but said holding the government responsible for the breach was a "stretch".

Mr Tehan said it was unclear who launched the incursion, but the Government was not ruling out a foreign government.

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According to Mitchell Clarke, an ASD incident response manager, the stolen documents for a Navy ship could let a viewer, "zoom in down to the captain's chair and see that it's, you know, one metre away from nav chair".

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.

Defence industry minister Christopher Pyne told the ABC on Thursday he does not know who the hacker is and indicated he would not tell if he knew, "It could be a state actor, a non-state actor".

'There's no way this one IT person could have done everything perfectly across the whole domain, ' said Mr Clarke.

The hackers had "full and unfettered access" to the system and read emails of the chief engineer, the finance officer and a contracting engineer.

The Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) said that the hacker had "full and unfettered access" to the information for four months in 2016 before the breach was detected in November.

Clarke also said ASD's incident response team was "getting busier and busier as time goes on and we have less and less people so it's getting hard for us and we're seeing I guess a really large workload".

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