Oz spooks hack, try to fry Middle East servers – report

Homebrew malware dropped on foreign state systems

Oz spies have reached across the Indian Ocean and meddled with the cooling controls of an unnamed Middle Eastern nation's servers hostile to Australia, according to reports.

The Australian Financial Review offered scant detail on the attack that was based on multiple intelligence sources.

The report claims the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) planted malware on unnamed servers run by a "non-democratic state" that was stealing unspecified Australian public and private secrets.

The attack wiped data and knackered servers' fans, leading to a system being "fried".

Australia's small computer network attack team within the ASD has launched other hacks against Middle East "terrorists" that were planning attacks on the country, the paper said.

The work of the Five Eyes intelligence services was one of the worst kept secrets thanks to NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

His revelations and those of other government leakers have shown spy agencies compromised technology companies, tapped international fibre links to hoover-up communications into huge data centres, and monitored leaders of foreign governments.

It prompted the biggest names in industry to launch lengthy and expensive security and encryption upgrades and caused no shortage of diplomatic fall-outs between perpetrators and victims.

Australian intelligence agencies were found to have tapped the mobile phone of former Indonesia President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, his family and close aides, while Australian Secret Intelligence Service techs were alleged to have under the guise of aid work renovated a cabinet room in Dili to install wiretaps into the walls.

It was most recently alleged in Snowden documents that the Australian Signals Directorate had a hand in the development of the malware known as WARRIORPRIDE. ®

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