Cyberattack on Australian defense contractor may have revealed private communications between ADF members | Cybercriminality

A ransomware attack may have compromised data related to private communications between current and former members of the Australian Defense Force, with up to 40,000 records at risk.

Defense confirmed on Monday that a dataset from ForceNet, a communications platform, may have been compromised after an attack on an external ICT service provider.

The dataset was from 2018 and, according to Veterans Affairs and Defense Personnel Minister Matt Keogh, it contained 30,000 to 40,000 records.

Keogh said the defense remained confident that no personal data had been accessed, but was still working to confirm which current and former personnel, including officials employed by the department, might be affected.

He described ForceNet as an internal social media platform.

“We’re working with this external vendor to make sure we have a complete picture of the type of data that was there and available,” Keogh said.

“We understand it was possibly around 30-40,000 records that they held, so we’re not saying that’s what exists, but that’s what the external provider held.

“But we are now working to get a full picture of who these people might have been.”

According to its website, ForceNet “facilitates verifiable, one-to-one and one-to-many communication and information sharing, including targeted communications and support in emergencies and to specific individuals.”

It may be used by Defense Members, Sponsored Family Members and other Approved Users, and was developed for Defense and approved by the Defense Chief Information Officers Group.

“This means ForceNet users can be confident that their information and content will only be seen by other authorized users,” ForceNet said. Frequently Asked Questions states.

A defense spokesperson confirmed that they had been made aware of the attack recently, but did not provide details on when it happened or how soon the defense was made aware of it. The external vendor that was attacked was not disclosed.

“The Defense takes this matter very seriously and is working with the vendor to determine the extent of the attack,” the spokesperson said.

“Initial discussions with the service provider indicate that there is no evidence that data from former and current [Australian Public Service] staff and [Australian defence force] the staff was compromised.

“The Defense is reviewing the contents of the ForceNet 2018 dataset and the personal information it contains.”

Keogh said the wave of cyberattacks in australia, including those targeting Optus and Medibank, were concerning. The attacks underscored the need for individuals to be vigilant about their personal information and for governments to ensure that the security measures organizations employed were sufficient, he said.

“I think it’s all Australians – and rightly the Australian government – who are very concerned about this kind of cyber activity that’s going on, people seeking by nefarious means to gain access to other people’s personal data in order to try to steal identities and to steal people’s identities. .”

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