Feeds

Attacker steals ‘old passwords’ from Oz defence academy site

Security fail sparks usual hypegasm

Website security in corporate America

An attack on Australian Defence Force Academy systems operated by the University of New South Wales (UNSW), has spilled 20,000 user records.

The systems were compromised in November, with UNSW notifying staff and students within a day, but has only now come to light.

The attacker, whose “Darwinaire” tag was also seen in a claimed attack on Amazon UK in early November, says the Website took only minutes to reveal its secrets, according to the Sydney Morning Herald (of course, an attacker’s statements about their own prowess may be considered equivocal).

In an e-mail sent to students and staff, posted here, UNSW says it expected the impact of the attack to be “minimal”, explaining that some IDs and passwords were “historical” and others related to a system that has since been replaced.

However, since e-mail addresses can easily be inferred from user names, the university warned that users may receive targeted spam or phishing attacks, or that the names may be used to attempt identity theft.

The attack has spawned national “hack attack” paranoia as a “national security failure” (according to RMIT’s Dr Mark Gregory speaking to The Conversation) and the SMH headlining the attack as “Australia’s worst hacking attack”.

While the publication of 20,000 user IDs has to be regarded as embarrassing, previous attacks known to Vulture South have sent target companies to the wall, going back as far as the 1990s. A more measured assessment of the attack has been penned by Sophos’ Paul Ducklin here, who notes that while the breach is serious, “no juicy Defence secrets” were involved.

Vulture South is also curious as to why the ADFA systems held 20,000 user IDs, when the academy’s annual intake numbers in the hundreds. We will update this story should ADFA respond to our query. ®

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Home Depot: 56 million bank cards pwned by malware in our tills
That's about 50 per cent bigger than the Target tills mega-hack
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Critical Adobe Reader and Acrobat patches FINALLY make it out
Eight vulns healed, including XSS and DoS paths
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.