Patch-crazy Aust Govt fought off EVERY hacker since 2013

Breached, but nothing exfiltrated, chuffs spy chief


Australian Signals Directorate deputy director Steve Day says hackers have failed to extract any sensitive information from Federal Government agencies for the last two years despite successfully breaching several networks.

Day chalks it up to agencies following the lauded "Top 4 security controls" developed by ASD bod Steve McLeod and colleagues.

The "Top 4" are application whitelisting, patching applications regularly, patching operating systems regularly, and minimising admin privileges.

Speaking in Sydney today Day says federal agencies have the security controls to thank for preventing the data theft.

"[Every breach] would have been prevented had the top four strategies been implemented," Day says.

"There were no compromises of Australia Government agencies between mid-2013 to mid-2015."

Day says hackers failed to steal data thanks to the education regime behind the top four control push coupled with regular audits of Federal Government agencies forced to implement the controls.

The contributing factors include unspecified "actions against our adversaries" Day says, probably hinting at the efforts of the ASD offensive red teams who are tasked with hacking networks for Australia's national interest.

"It's something we could speak about at another time or place", he says.

Day points to a chart illustrating the number of network intrusions into Federal Government agencies since 2009. Prior to that date the agency lacked insight into government agency breaches. "We had some pretty bad years", Day says.

Attacks against government agencies decline thanks to the top four controls.

The Major General says the breach data could change if new intelligence is received, but adds he is confident of the results.

He says the time it took ASD to discover breaches has fallen from about nine months "a few years ago" to a matter of weeks.

Day also announced that the Federal Government's Cyber Security Center set up in the agency's new facility will house representatives from seven telecommunications organisations to develop information sharing mechanisms, although he acknowledges the wheels in Canberra turn slowly and did not put a deadline on the effort.

He says he would envision for the future that the cyber centre have 'footprints' each capital city to build face-to-face industry relationships. ®

Similar topics


Other stories you might like

  • Prisons transcribe private phone calls with inmates using speech-to-text AI

    Plus: A drug designed by machine learning algorithms to treat liver disease reaches human clinical trials and more

    In brief Prisons around the US are installing AI speech-to-text models to automatically transcribe conversations with inmates during their phone calls.

    A series of contracts and emails from eight different states revealed how Verus, an AI application developed by LEO Technologies and based on a speech-to-text system offered by Amazon, was used to eavesdrop on prisoners’ phone calls.

    In a sales pitch, LEO’s CEO James Sexton told officials working for a jail in Cook County, Illinois, that one of its customers in Calhoun County, Alabama, uses the software to protect prisons from getting sued, according to an investigation by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    Continue reading
  • Battlefield 2042: Please don't be the death knell of the franchise, please don't be the death knell of the franchise

    Another terrible launch, but DICE is already working on improvements

    The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Since the last edition on New World, we hit level cap and the "endgame". Around this time, item duping exploits became rife and every attempt Amazon Games made to fix it just broke something else. The post-level 60 "watermark" system for gear drops is also infuriating and tedious, but not something we were able to address in the column. So bear these things in mind if you were ever tempted. On that note, it's time to look at another newly released shit show – Battlefield 2042.

    I wanted to love Battlefield 2042, I really did. After the bum note of the first-person shooter (FPS) franchise's return to Second World War theatres with Battlefield V (2018), I stupidly assumed the next entry from EA-owned Swedish developer DICE would be a return to form. I was wrong.

    The multiplayer military FPS market is dominated by two forces: Activision's Call of Duty (COD) series and EA's Battlefield. Fans of each franchise are loyal to the point of zealotry with little crossover between player bases. Here's where I stand: COD jumped the shark with Modern Warfare 2 in 2009. It's flip-flopped from WW2 to present-day combat and back again, tried sci-fi, and even the Battle Royale trend with the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone (2020), which has been thoroughly ruined by hackers and developer inaction.

    Continue reading
  • American diplomats' iPhones reportedly compromised by NSO Group intrusion software

    Reuters claims nine State Department employees outside the US had their devices hacked

    The Apple iPhones of at least nine US State Department officials were compromised by an unidentified entity using NSO Group's Pegasus spyware, according to a report published Friday by Reuters.

    NSO Group in an email to The Register said it has blocked an unnamed customers' access to its system upon receiving an inquiry about the incident but has yet to confirm whether its software was involved.

    "Once the inquiry was received, and before any investigation under our compliance policy, we have decided to immediately terminate relevant customers’ access to the system, due to the severity of the allegations," an NSO spokesperson told The Register in an email. "To this point, we haven’t received any information nor the phone numbers, nor any indication that NSO’s tools were used in this case."

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021