"Defence data stolen from firm using 'admin' and 'guest" as credentials


Commercially sensitive information on Australia's A$14 billion Joint Strike Fighter programme, its next fleet of spy planes and several of its naval warships have been stolen by hackers who breached a Australia Department of Defence contractor.

ASD staff codenamed the hacker "Alf", after a long-running character on the television drama Home & Away, with the period between July and November referred to as "Alf's mystery happy fun time".

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 a year ago.

The stolen information fell under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), a U.S. regulatory regime that restricts and controls the export of defence and military related technologies.

The username and password combination used to access the company's system was the default "admin" and "guest".

"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", Clarke said, according to a copy of the audio provided by freelance technology journalist Stilgherrian, who first reported the story.

"We see this all the time. It could be a state actor, a non-state actor", Mr Pyne told ABC radio on Thursday.

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"I don't know who did it.it could be one of a number of different actors".

"While the Australian company is a national-security linked contractor and the information disclosed was commercially sensitive, it was unclassified", they said in a statement on Wednesday evening.

"You don't know that we've tendered a major defence contract to a small enterprise with poor cyber security protections, you don't know that".

A spokesman for the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), a government agency, said the government would not release further details about the cyber attack. "It could somebody working for another company".

A mystery hacker codenamed after a larrikin Australian soap opera character has been revealed as stealing sensitive, high-level information about a $1.1 trillion defence project created by an alliance including Australia, the U.S, United Kingdom and Canada.

"Fortunately, the data that was taken was commercial data, not military data, but it's still very serious and we will get to the bottom of it".