Australia jet and navy data stolen in 'extensive' hack

Mitchell Clarke from the Australian Signals Directorate told a Sydney conference on Wednesday the attacker stole 30 gigabytes of data most of it related to defence

The government stressed that the information stolen was commercially sensitive but not classified.

Australia's peak cyber security agency called a hacker who stole gigabytes of confidential defence data from a national security contractor after Alf Stewart from the long-running Australian soap opera Home & Away.

Australian Signals Directorate incident response manager Mitchell Clarke, as ZDNet first reported, told the Australian Information Security Association conference in Sydney on Wednesday that "a significant amount of data was stolen".

The Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) has revealed that a cyber-hack a year ago gained access to the restricted technical information on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, Australian naval vessels and defense aircraft.

"That ITAR data included information on the JSF - the joint strike fighter, the C130, the P-8 Poseidon, the JDAM - that's a smart bomb, and a few Australian naval vessels", he said.

The federal minister for cybersecurity Dan Tehan revealed the breach earlier this week through the release of the Australian Cyber Security Centre's 2017 Threat Report, but provided no detail specifically about the Alf incident.

Clarke also didn't rule out that a foreign government was behind the incident.

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He said the firm was subcontracted four levels down from defence contracts.

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

Australia has agreed to buy 72 Lockheed Martin Corp Joint Strike Fighter planes.

He indicated the hackers could have been a criminal group or state-sponsored hackers.

"I don't know who did it.it could be one of a number of different actors". He said the organisation only had one IT person and that person had only been in the job for a short while.

The prime minister's adviser on cyber security Alastair MacGibbon says there is a range of ways the attacker could have got in, including default passwords.

The secret information was restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), the United States system created to regulate the export of defence and military-related technologies, according to Mitchell Clarke, an incident response manager at the ASD who worked on the case.

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