Several foreign powers are responsible for the 2015 hacking of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, according to a report released by the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC). According to investigators, the hackers also managed to install malicious software, also called malware, on the agency’s computer system to steal sensitive documents.
However, as of now, it still remains unknown as to why the attack occurred but investigators believe it could have been motivated by commercial or strategic reasons or both. The Australian Cyber Security Centre report also reveals that the attacks indicate that the hackers were willing to use disruptive and destructive methods to embarrass or obstruct organizations and government agencies.
The Guardian reports that the security controls commonly employed failed to protect the Bureau of Meteorology. Although the minister for cyber security, Dan Tehan, did not reveal the countries responsible for the attack, the ABC reported that China could have been behind it. He also pointed out that cyberespionage like this is real and increasing.
“We don’t narrow it down to specific countries. And we do that deliberately. But what we have indicated is that cyberespionage is alive and well,” says Tehan. “We have to make sure that we’re taking all the steps necessary to keep us safe because the threat is there. The threat is real. Cybersecurity is something that we, as a nation, have to take very seriously.”
The ABC also states that the Australian Signals Directorate has actually responded to 1,095 cyber security attacks on Australian government systems between January 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016. The ACSC says these cyber attacks were serious enough to warrant operational responses.
Tehan says that to solve cyber security problems, “What we want to do is continue to be more transparent about what is going on in this area and that’s what this report is about.”