China is being blamed for a hacking into Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology, compromising several high-profile government computers which may have allowed attackers access to sensitive national security data, according to an unnamed government official. The Australian weather bureau hosts a massive supercomputer used by a host of government agencies and has network connections to Australia’s Department of Defense.
The Bureau of Meteorology breach was described as “massive” by the anonymous government official who spoke with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. The unknown official said there is no doubt that “it is China.” He added that fixing the bureau networks to patch all the vulnerabilities could cost millions of dollars.
No official statements from any Australian agencies have come forward and Australian federal police would not comment on ABC’s latest story. This is routine as Australia’s government has made it a policy to not speak on specific security related attacks.
However, ABC claims that multiple official sources close to the breach have reached out and confirmed the attack.
China has once again denied any involvement in the attack. “As we have reiterated on many occasions, the Chinese government is opposed to all forms of cyber attacks”, a spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry said. Adding that the recent report is full of “groundless accusations.”
The motive behind the attack is unknown, however many believe it could be for both commercial and strategic use. Whatever the case, the hack was clearly pinpointed at hacking into high-profile systems in hopes of gathering sensitive information.
According to reporters, if another country compromised sensitive Bureau of Meteorology information, Australia would be unable to report accurate weather forecasts and would even affect the operations of military and commercial aircrafts.
Details on the Bureau of Meteorology remain scarce, we will keep you updated as the story unfolds.