The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that about 30 gigabits of commercially sensitive data for the F-35 JSF, C-130, P-8 Poseidon, and the JDAM programs was stolen in a breach from a small Australian defense company. The hacker, dubbed ‘Alf’, stole data that was commercially sensitive but non-classified.
A spokesman, Mitchell Clarke, for the Australian Cyber Security Center did not rule out a foreign government. Mr. Clarke did indicate that Alf used “China Chopper,” which is reportedly a tool widely used by Chinese hackers.
Commercially sensitive information on the $14 billion Joint Strike Fighter program, Australia’s next fleet of spy planes and several of its naval warships have been stolen by hackers who breached a Department of Defence contractor, a government official has revealed.
A manager at the Australian Signals Directorate – the government’s main national security cyber spies – told a conference in Sydney on Wednesday that the hackers stole 30 gigabytes of data including on the Defence projects.
ASD incident response manager Mitchell Clarke told the Australian Information Security Association conference that the ASD had codenamed the hacker ‘Alf’ after the Home and Away character played by Ray Meagher.
A spokesperson for the Australian Cyber Security Centre, for which Mr Clarke works, said the data was commercially sensitive but was not classified.
Mr Clarke told the conference that “the compromise was extensive and extreme”. Dan Tehan, the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cyber Security, had on Tuesday highlighted the case as a significant breach, though he did not provide details.
Mr Clarke also didn’t rule out that a foreign government was behind the incident.
He said the company “had a significant amount of data stolen … and most of that data was defence-related” and that some of it related to the US International Traffic in Arms Regulations, which verifies the security credentials of firms dealing in US military and defence exports.
“That ITAR data included information on the the [F-35] Joint Strike Fighters, the C-130, the P-8 Poseidon, the JDAM –that’s a smart bomb – and a few Australian naval vessels,” Mr Clarke said, according to a copy of the audio provided by freelance technology journalist Stilgherrian, who first reported the story.
“We found one document [that] was like a Y-diagram of one of the Navy’s new ships and you could zoom in down the captain’s chair and see that it’s one metre away from the nav [navigation] chair and that sort of thing.”
The P-8 Poseidon is the RAAF’s soon-to-arrive fleet of new spy planes.
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