Austal data breach: Hackers stole sensitive data from Australian defense contractor

  • Email addresses and phone numbers of some staff members were accessed by hackers.
  • Austal said that the hackers attempted to extort the company.

One of Australia’s prime defense contractors and shipbuilders Austal was hit by a data breach on November 1, 2018. The hackers managed to steal the sensitive data of a few of the firm’s staff. However, the firm claims that there is no evidence of theft of national security information.

The company said that it has informed the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) about the incident.

“There is no evidence to date to suggest that information affecting national security nor the commercial operations of the company have been stolen,” Austal said in a statement.

Email addresses and phone numbers of some staffers were accessed by the attackers. According to the statement released by the company, these staff members were immediately notified.

Austal also said that the cybercriminals behind the attack attempted to extort the company. The hackers purported to sell some of the materials manufactured by Austal for sale online. However, the company said that has not and will not respond to any extortion attempts.

Austal said that the breach did not impact its operations in any major way. The firm also confirmed that Austal’s businesses in the United States remained unaffected by the breach, as the computer systems targeted by the hackers are not linked.

The company is working along with the Australian Cyber Security Centre and Australian Federal Police to resolve the issue.

“This incident reinforces the serious nature of the cybersecurity threat faced by the defense industry, and the need for industry partners to put in place, and maintain, strong cyber defenses,” the Australian government said, the Guardianreported. “Defence and the ACSC have provided cybersecurity assistance to Austal and are working with Austal to assess and mitigate harm.”