Posted on December 11, 2017 at 6:14 PM
The attackers managed to gain access to the Australian airport’s buildings plans as well as a large portion of its security data.
A Vietnamese cyber attacker recently accessed and infiltrated Perth International Airport’s computer network and systems and shortly after continued to steal the airport’s building plans as well as sensitive information regarding the airport’s security protocols. According to a report by a local media outlet, The West Australian, the 31-year-old hacker, who has since the event been identified as Le Duc Hoang Hai, gained access to the system by using a third-party contractor’s login credentials.
Alastair MacGibbon, who acts as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnball’s cybersecurity adviser, has confirmed that no systems pertaining to passenger information, radar systems, or any aircraft operating systems were affected by the security breach.
Perth Airport security officials detected the breach shortly after Hai invaded the systems. After detection, airport officials reported the matter to the Australian Cyber Security Centre, headquartered in Canberra, as well as the Australian Federal Police. The agency traced the hacker to Vietnam, where they contacted local law enforcement who was instrumental in facilitating Hai’s capture and subsequent arrest.
Hai has since been tried and found guilty by a Vietnamese military court, who continued to sentence Hai to four years in prison.
Hai has previously targeted high-profile infrastructures and businesses during his hacking campaigns. Previously, the hacker targeted and successfully compromised several websites of Vietnam-based firms and companies such as online publications, banks, and telecom companies. However, Perth Airport seems to have been his first target beyond Vietnamese borders.
According to Perth Airport’s CEO, Kevin Brown, Hai targeted the airport in order to gain access to credit card information of their passengers. In an interview with a local media outlet, Nine.com.au, Brown stated that despite the attempt, all travelers’ information has remained secure. However, some important documents were stolen.
According to MacGibbon, there is no evidence which suggests that Hai could have been working as part of a hacking group, or that he managed to leak the stolen information before his arrest. In addition, MacGibbon emphasized that Australia will be working towards combatting similar events from taking place in the future.
In addition, MacGibbon warned that third-party contractors were becoming increased security risks for companies, as their easily exploited login details could pose a threat to company security.
Several companies have fallen victim to similar hacking methods in the recent past. Hackers managed to infiltrate and expose the firm and its clients’ sensitive information due to negligence on the part of the contractors.
Brown emphasized that the airport has conducted a thorough investigation to ensure that all travelers details remained secure and that no information of the airport’s staff of partners was compromised in the hack.