Defence contractor Austal hit with cyber attack

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Monday, 05 November, 2018

Defence contractor Austal hit with cyber attack

Department of Defence contractor Austal, a Western Australian shipbuilder, has fallen victim to a cyber attack and extortion attempt by an unknown offender.

In a statement (PDF) to the Australian Stock Exchange, Austal reported that its Australian operations have detected and responded to a breach of the company's data management systems.

To date, the only confirmed breached information includes some staff email addresses and some mobile numbers, but potentially compromised information also includes ship design drawings that may be distributed to customers and fabrication subcontractors or suppliers.

But Austal noted that these drawings are neither sensitive nor classified, and the Department of Defence and Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) has confirmed that compromise of classified or sensitive information or technology has been identified so far.

There has been no impact on Austal's subsidiary operations in the US as its computers are not linked, Austal said.

The offender subsequently engaged in an extortion attempt, which Austal said it will not respond to, and purported to offer certain compromised data for sale over the internet.

Defence and the ACSC are working with Austal to investigate the breach and assess and mitigate any harm. The AFP is also investigating the incident, and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner has been notified.

But the incident is expected to add to rising fears about the potential impact of cybercrime on national security.

Image courtesy Austal.

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