Tuesday, 02 March, 2021


Hackers steal Joint Strike Fighter plans during cyber attack

Kristine Garrett | 12 October, 2017, 05:36

The federal government admits it still doesn't know who managed to hack top secret technical information about new fighter jet and navy vessels more than a year ago.

The hack was discovered by a major Defence contractor.

The minister responsible for cyber security, Dan Tehan, earlier this week announced the breach, without providing details.

"While awareness of cyber-crime is certainly on the rise, so too is the threat that it poses, with the report claiming 47,000 cyber incidents took place in the past 12 months alone".

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

ASD is not ruling out a foreign state power as being behind the hack.

The hacker has been named after Alf Stewart from the long-running soap Home and Away.

The many months between where the hacker was left to his own devices was referred to "Alf's Mystery Happy Fun Time".

The breach occurred in July 2016 and the Australian Signals Directorate found out about it from "a partner organisation", in November that year.

The F-35 Lightning, the Joint Strike Fighter.

Mr Clarke said the information hacked on the new Navy ships included a diagram in which you could zoom in on the captain's chair and see that it was one metre away from the navigation chair.

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

"There's no way this one IT person could have done everything perfectly across the whole domain". The company rang both the ASD and CERT hotlines but both organisations said they were not aware that their representatives were approaching the company.

"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.

A Royal Australian Air Force C130-J Hercules pilot.

"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.

Mr Pyne says the incident is a reminder for businesses to take their cyber security very seriously.

But Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne insists the data obtained from an Adelaide defence contractor was only commercially sensitive, not "classified" military information.

Comment has been sought from Mr Tehan and the Defence department.

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