nettimes_roving_reporter on Mon, 4 Oct 1999 06:04:23 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> ASX hack from US Military base

Australian Stock Exchange foils US hackers
Sydney Morning Herald 04-Oct-99

Computer hackers from a United States military installation tried to break
into the Australian Stock Exchange's database, its managing director, Mr
Richard Humphry, said yesterday.

Mr Humphry said authorities were notified after the hackers from the US
military installation tried to break into the site and "broke into another
site to achieve that objective".

"We were able to trace that back to another country and to an installation
that was associated with military activities and accordingly we contacted
the Defence Department and asked that they advise us of the likelihood that
this country was attempting some form of attempted break into our
database," Mr Humphry told the Nine Network's Business Sunday program.

He said he had received an assurance that there was no possibility of the
attack being an official attempt to breach the ASX's security arrangements.

Business Sunday said it understood the attempt came from an air base in a
western US State.

Mr Humphry said he took the attempt seriously.

"I wrote to the Secretary of Defence about it, and asked him to contact the
defence and signals division to advise me," he said.

He said another serious attack came from Victoria.

Mr Humphry said on this occasion the Australian Federal Police were called.

"The Federal Police did not lay charges because they have to actually catch
people in the act. But again the attempts ceased immediately," he said.

It was difficult to prosecute suspects under existing laws and he had urged
the Federal Government to improve the system.

"I've written to the Attorney-General about that. There is a definite need
for an upgrading of our legislation to allow for the capacity to both
properly trace calls and to prosecute electronic penetration if it's
illegal," he said.

Mr Humphry said the Government had acknowledged there was a need to upgrade
laws but said he had yet to receive any advice of action being taken.

Of the "plenty of attacks" on the ASX computer system, Mr Humphry said none
had been successful, with "amateurs trying fairly frequently".

"We build multi-layered firewalls," he said of the ASX security strategy.
The hackers had not been able to pass "through the first wall".


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