Australia central bank computers hacked

Black Hat Hackers
Black Hat Hackers
Sydney - Computer networks at the Reserve Bank of Australia have been hacked, some reportedly by Chinese-developed malware searching for sensitive information, officials said on Monday.

The central bank revealed the attacks after investigations by The Australian Financial Review found multiple computers had been compromised by malicious software seeking intelligence.

The newspaper said in one attack a Chinese-developed malware spy programme was searching in 2011 for information on sensitive G20 negotiations, where Beijing's exchange rate and currency reserves were on the agenda.

A Reserve Bank official confirmed the G20 virus to AFP and said it was confined to only "a few" computers. The official did not say what information was stolen, who was targeted, and would not confirm the Chinese connection.

A defence department official cited by the newspaper said "the targeting of high-profile events, such as the G20, by state-sponsored adversaries... is a real and persistent threat".

"Cyber intruders are looking for information on... the government's intentions," he added.

Chinese origin

In another sophisticated incident the month before, revealed on the central bank's disclosure log under its freedom of information obligations, "targeted" e-mails were received regarding its strategic planning for 2012.

"Malicious e-mail was highly targeted, utilising a possibly legitimate external account purporting to be a senior bank staff member," an official report by the bank's risk management unit said.

"As the e-mail had no attachment, it bypassed existing security controls, allowing users to potentially access the malicious payload via the internet browsing infrastructure."

Six users clicked on the mail.

"Bank assets could have been potentially compromised, leading to service information loss and reputation [damage]," the official report said.

In 2011, the computers of Australia's prime minister plus foreign and defence ministers were all suspected of being hacked. Reports and security experts said the attacks originated in China.

Beijing dismissed the allegations as "groundless and made out of ulterior purposes".

Last year, Chinese telecoms giant Huawei was barred from bidding for contracts on Australia's ambitious A$36bn ($37bn) broadband rollout due to fears of cyber attacks.
We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
When assisting your child with remote learning this year, did you:
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Follow the school's comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) curriculum?
13% - 264 votes
Adjust the CSE curriculum to suit the family's morals?
24% - 473 votes
Ignore the schools CSE programme and do your own teaching?
63% - 1265 votes
Vote
ZAR/USD
15.24
(+1.27)
ZAR/GBP
20.36
(+1.08)
ZAR/EUR
18.33
(+0.51)
ZAR/AUD
11.20
(+1.36)
ZAR/JPY
0.15
(+1.43)
Gold
1810.02
(+1.78)
Silver
23.63
(+4.44)
Platinum
990.00
(+2.58)
Brent Crude
47.66
(-0.77)
Palladium
2412.49
(+2.50)
All Share
57509.72
(+0.73)
Top 40
52764.09
(+0.74)
Financial 15
11238.33
(+0.71)
Industrial 25
79067.55
(+0.13)
Resource 10
53562.00
(+1.63)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo