Data about Australia's F-35 stealth aircraft stolen during cyber-attack

The three months during which the hackers operated undetected has been dubbed'Alf's Mystery Happy Fun Time  by the ASD

In 2011 for example, a major Japanese defence contractor was hacked.

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"The compromise was extensive and extreme", Mr Clarke said. They used a tool known as "China Chopper", which security experts say is widely used by Chinese hackers. The unnamed organization notified the ASD that it was hacked in November of 2016, and that outside parties gained access to its network. Lateral movement using those same credentials eventually gave the attacker access to the domain controller and the remote desktop server, and to email and other sensitive information.

The sub-contractor also had no protective DMZ [de-militarised zone] network and no regular patching process. "It could be a state actor, a non-state actor".

Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne, who is responsible for the defence projects in question, said the stolen information was "commercial data not military data".

"Threat actors will always use the path of least resistance", he tells Information Security Media Group.

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

The hacker, nicknamed "Alf" after the "Home and Away" character played by Ray Meagher, breached a defense contractor's database containing 30GB of files on some of the West's most secretive and modern military programs, an official of the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), the government's main cyber intelligence agency, said on Wednesday, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. "The ASD and the cyber security office immediately swung into action", he said. This is not rocket science but does require resources.

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The company, which had only one IT person, was subcontracted four levels down from defence contracts.

Paul German, CEO at security firm Certes Networks said the incident highlights fundamental flaws in current security models.

Around 30GB of commercially sensitive data has been compromised in a hack on an Australian government contractor, including details about new fighter planes and navy vessels.

"With breach detection typically taking between 120 and 150 days, organisations need a way to limit the damage in the meantime".

"Collectively, the industry needs to embrace a new approach to security".

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

Mr Clarke described the security breach as "sloppy admin".

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