A cyberattacker nicknamed “Alf” gained access to an Australian defense contractor’s computers and began a four-month raid that snared data on sophisticated U.S. weapons systems.
Using the simple combinations of login names and passwords “admin; admin” and “guest; guest” and exploiting a vulnerability in the company’s help-desk portal, the attacker roved the firm’s network for four months. The Australian military referred to the breach as “Alf’s Mystery Happy Fun Time,” referring to a character from the soap opera “Home and Away.”
The incident, detailed by a senior Australian intelligence official in a speech on Wednesday, was the third major breach of sensitive U.S. military and intelligence data to come to light in the past week.
On Tuesday, a South Korean lawmaker said North Korean hackers had accessed a military database and stolen top-secret files, including a plan for a decapitation strike against top leaders in Pyongyang. That followed reports that hackers working for the Russian government stole details of how the U.S. penetrates foreign computer networks and defends its own.