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Hackers strike as Commission’s systems are breached

Toby HusseyAlbany Advertiser
Nigerian hackers gained access to the Commission’s network in 2017.
Camera IconNigerian hackers gained access to the Commission’s network in 2017. Credit: Great Southern Development Commission

An Albany-based State department was infiltrated by a foreign hacker or hackers in 2017, the Premier has revealed.

The Great Southern Development Commission’s internal network systems were breached by a “believed non-State foreign actor”, traced back to Nigeria, on April 25, 2017, according to Premier Mark McGowan.

The GSDC, which has an office on Albany’s Serpentine Road West, is a West Australian Government agency which delivers State funding to community projects.

Mr McGowan revealed the Albany cyber attack in Parliament last week.

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“The Great Southern Development Commission took immediate action, including reporting it to the Australian Federal Police given the tampering traces back to Nigeria,” he said.

“No evidence of material containing Cabinet or customer-related details were found to be compromised.”

Mr McGowan’s office was asked, but did not respond to, questions about how the server was hacked, how long hackers had had access to the system, and what information was accessed during the breach.

It said the State Government had been working hard to protect against cyber attacks, including by spending more than $500,000 on establishing a dedicated government cyber-security team, and spending $5.6 million on a cybersecurity headquarters.

West Australian State departments have been in the sights of foreign hackers over the past 18 months, with 16 other attempts made to infiltrate DPIRD internal networks.

Of those attempts, one was successful.

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