Australian Bureau of Meteorology hack linked to China

Amidst growing cyber warfare and fears of worldwide hacking activities increasing, a report has been published on the breach of the Australian government’s department computer system.

An official report revealed on Wednesday that the Bureau of Meteorology’s system was under attack from malicious software that stole unknown number of documents. It is also to be noted that the Meteorology bureau is linked to the defence department. Initial reports came in 2015 and reports linked China to the cyber attacks.

However, China is no new player. It was previously accused of breaking into U.S. based firms’ and government websites and also managed to steal top-secret blueprints of Australia’s new intelligence agency headquarters in 2013.

Even Australia’s census website was hacked and shut down by cybercriminals in August this year.

The Australian Cyber Security Centre has however refrained from naming any country in this regard.

“We don’t narrow it down to specific countries, and we do that deliberately. But what we have indicated is that cyber espionage is alive and well,” said Dan Tehan, Cybersecurity assistant of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

The report suggested that Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) had identified the presence of Remote Access Tool (RAT) and other malware associated with cyber-attacks in Meteorology bureau’s system in 2015.

“The RAT had also been used to compromise other Australian government networks. ASD identified evidence of the adversary searching for and copying an unknown quantity of documents from the Bureau’s network. This information is likely to have been stolen by the adversary,” the report said.

“Apart from demonstrating a savvy understanding of social media and exploiting the internet for propaganda purposes, terrorist cyber capabilities generally remain rudimentary and show few signs of improving significantly in the near future,” it added.

According to the report, ASD responded to 1,095 cyber attacks on government systems between January 1 and June 30, 2016.

Tehan said, “Cyber security is something that we as a nation have to take very seriously; as a government, as business and as individuals. And what we want to do is continue to be more transparent about what is going on in this area and that’s what this report is about.”

However, that was just a small part of the cyber security breach in Australia.

Surveys suggest that almost all the companies in the corporate world have been compromised at least once but they are hardly reported in the media as it can ruin the companies’ reputation.

In spite of newer technologies and platforms coming up each day to avert attacks, cyber security departments around the world have still failed at putting a stopper on such attacks. WADA-medical files hacks and Sony pictures-hack were just two examples of the serious threats cybercriminals pose.


Leave a Reply