The hacker had managed to breach the defenses and had downloaded nearly 30GB of data related to military hardware, including smart bombs, Joint Strike Fighter, naval vessels, P-8 Poseidon surveillance plane and other military hardware, over the course of 5 months.
On Thursday, Australia’s defense ministry disclosed that a hacker had managed to breach its defense network and had managed to steal non-classified data on its Joint Strike Fighter program as well as details of other military hardware.
Nearly 30 gigabytes of data was stolen in the hack, including details of the Joint Strike Fighter warplane and the P-8 Poseidon surveillance plane.
“Fortunately the data that has been taken is commercial data, not military data … it’s not classified information,” said Christopher Pyne, Australia’s Minister for the Defense Industry.
“I don’t know who did it.”
During a presentation to a conference in Sydney, an official from the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) intelligence agency said technical information on smart bombs, the Joint Strike Fighter, the Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft and several naval vessels was stolen.
“The compromise was extensive and extreme,” said Mitchell Clarke, in an audio recording made by a ZDNet journalist which was broadcast by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio.
According to Clarke, the hacker had accessed the small contractor’s systems for five months in 2016, and the “methodical, slow and deliberate,” choice of target suggested a nation-state actor could be behind the raid.
Australia has agreed to buy 72 Lockheed Martin Corp Joint Strike Fighter planes.
A spokesman for the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), a government agency, said the government would not release further details about the cyber attack.
On Monday, the ACSC had said in a report that it responded to 734 cyber attacks on “systems of national interest” for the year ended June 30 with the defense industry being a major target.
In 2016 the agency said it responded to 1,095 cyber attacks over an 18-month period, including an intrusion from a foreign intelligence service on the weather bureau.