Australian techie jailed for accessing museum's accounting system and buying himself stuff

Also down under, researchers find security-cleared workers leaking details of their gigs

An Australian IT contractor has been sentenced to 30 months jail for ripping off the National Maritime Museum.

The nonprofit museum celebrates Australia's maritime heritage – a matter of some import for the island nation, which therefore attracts government funding.

Among the museum's exhibits is a retired destroyer, the HMAS Vampire. Which we mention because the convicted contractor had no qualms about tapping the Museum's financial veins to nourish his lifestyle.

As explained yesterday by the Australian Federal Police (AFP), the man "used his role as a contract IT support worker to access the Museum's accounts payable system and illegally change bank account details to his own."

The convicted techie used his access to the Museum's financial systems to obtain financial details of several individuals and businesses recorded. He then used those details to make to purchases to the tune of over AU$66,000 ($43,000).

Almost a third of his haul went on what the AFP described as "high-powered IT equipment" – we’re guessing either crypto mining or gaming kit – and also managed to spend over AU$15,000 ($10,000) on mechanical work and upgrades to his four wheel drive vehicle.

The Museum noticed the man's transactions and called the Feds, who put the Command Cybercrime Operations team on the case, leading to a March 2023 arrest. The man was sentenced last Friday to 30 months inside, and will serve at least half that time as the Local Court judge set a non-parole period of 15 months.

The man may not be the only Australian tech contractor in trouble this week: local infosec outfit Dvuln trawled LinkedIn for workers known to hold Australian government security clearances, and found two scary things.

One was that some mention projects they're working on, making their social media profiles valuable open source intelligence about those projects and possible targets to learn more about them.

The other was that over half of folks who list themselves as holding clearances are named at Have I Been Pwned – the database of credentials present in data leaks. Those seeking credentials to access sensitive Australian government systems therefore have an obvious place to start their explorations. ®

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