Australians track crack attempt to US military

Mon, 04 Oct 1999 13:30:09 GMT
by Will Knight - ZDNet UK

The aussies are blaming the yanks for trying to crack their Stock
Exchange after tracing the attempt to a US military base...

An attempt to crack the Australian Stock Exchange has been traced to a
US military base according to reports.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Richard Humphry, managing
director of the Exchange, contacted the United States' Defence
Department to complain. Humphry reportedly claimed that crackers tried
to get into the database of the nation's stock exchange and "broke into
another Website to achieve that objective".

According to Humphry, the perpetrators were traced back to an airforce
installation based in a western US state. Details of what information
the assailants targeted or may have captured were not released by the
stock exchange.

Ian Johnston-Bryden, a British expert on military and government
security believes the US military is by no means above this seemingly
blatant attack. "There are certain parts of the US military that believe
that the law does not apply to them when they are in hot pursuit of
someone," he says. "This is quite likely considering it was a
stock-exchange."

Johnston-Bryden suggests US governmental intelligence departments are
increasingly involved in covert computer activities. "Since the cold
war, intelligence agencies have been redirected into commercial
intelligence gathering. It could be that one of these agencies have been
using a US military address, but it would be unusual for them not to
take extreme measures to disguise themselves."

Humphry has reportedly received assurances from the US Defence
Department that there was no official attempt to break into the
exchange.

This comes just two week after the International Chamber of Commerce
(ICC) admitted that it is aware of a number of UK financial institutions
having been hit by cyber extortion attempts and also coincides with the
UK government plans to monitor Internet traffic.

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