Feeds

More on the ‘NBN hack’ that wasn’t

The Au Fed Police press conference, response from Platform Networks

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More details have emerged on the “NBN hacker” story, in which a 25-year-old truck driver using the handle “Evil” penetrated a company called Platform Networks.

The association with the National Broadband Network was both tenuous and irresistible. Even though Platform isn’t yet offering services, and although the attack took place last year, its status as an NBN service provider put that link in the lead of every story.

Since we published the story earlier today (Wednesday, July 27), Platform Networks has got in touch with further information. CEO David Hooton told The Register: “In December 2010 during routine systems and network monitoring, Platform Networks became aware of unlawful traffic transiting our network. We commenced a six-month investigation, collecting information and actively monitoring traffic which led us to believe that there was malicious traffic transiting our network which was of a nature that threatened national infrastructure.

“As soon as this became obvious, Platform Networks immediately started working with the Australian Federal Police (AFP) High Tech Crimes Commission, providing them with a rare insight into this unlawful activity as it was happening.”

In a press conference broadcast on ABC News 24, the AFP’s Brad Martin associated the “national infrastructure” implications of the attack as being related to Platform’s domain and Web services, saying: “Web hosting or domain registrars … may have 150,000 or 200,000 downstream companies”.

The potential for that many companies – or even individuals – to lose access to Internet services is what elevates such services to “national infrastructure” status, he explained, not the association between Platform Networks and the NBN.

In fact, he said, this attack “would not have had a direct impact on the NBN”.

Martin backed up Platform’s account of its response to the attack, saying that when it became aware of the intrusion, it created offline, off-site backups of all systems to minimize the impact of any attack.

The AFP’s Grant Edwards said the accused first came to the agency’s notice not through the attack on Platform Networks, but after the Website of Sydney University was defaced in January. This, along with a tip-off to the National Security Hotline, led the AFP to monitor the individual now arrested.

“In May and June, we identified a number of companies hacked by this individual,” he told the press conference.

One of the 49 charges the man faces, unauthorised modification of data, carries a maximum penalty of ten years in prison, while the remaining 48 are for unauthorised access to data, which is punishable by two years in prison.

Even though the NBN angle is somewhat less than it seemed, the opposition’s communications spokesperson Malcolm Turnbull has told ABC News: “This is a very serious wakeup call for the National Broadband Network and the government. There is a risk of security breaches being able to pervade the whole network.” ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
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
Apple grapple: Congress kills FBI's Cupertino crypto kybosh plan
Encryption would lead us all into a 'dark place', claim G-Men
'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
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
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.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.