Feeds

Mystery hack pwns Australian government

Email cache apparently flashed

Security for virtualized datacentres

Parliamentary computers of the Australian prime minister, Julia Gillard, and other ministers may have been hacked, according to Australian media reports.

Details of the reported hack are more than a little vague. Sydney's Daily Telegraph reported that US intelligence tipped local authorities off over a suspected breach, which reportedly involved the exposure of several thousand emails from up to 10 ministers including Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd and Defence Minister Stephen Smith.

The compromise reportedly dates from February, the paper reports, adding that Australian spy agencies have been called in to tighten up network security.

The breach affected parliamentary systems rather the government's more secure intranet. Speculation suggests that hackers possibly from China (the usual suspects in all such cases) may have been after raw intelligence on Australia's lucrative mining industry.

Parliamentary emails are far more likely to deal with pending legislation, internal party political and constituency business, so this scenario doesn't seem particularly likely. If you were after intelligence on mining operations it would make more sense to hack into the systems of mining firms than those of politicians.

Assuming that the parliamentary systems has been compromised, for whatever reason, then targeted spear phishing and malware are the most likely scenarios. It's likely the US authorities came across the leak after spotting the email cache circulating on the Tor anonymizer network.

Australian authorities declined to confirm or deny the reports, according to the BBC. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
NOT OK GOOGLE: Android images can conceal code
It's been fixed, but hordes won't have applied the upgrade
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.