Cybersecurity and Small Town Attacks
Throughout the nation, every municipality has some form of government. This may be minor with only a handful of people working, such as with a small town, or hundreds with the large cities. Within this range, any municipality has IT. This may be a few desktop computers or a massive network. This is the same in other countries. Australia is not an exception. A recent breach occurred in Australia. The attack and subsequent breach was directed at the Victorian government employees.
The breach occurred when the Victorian government directory was accessed without authorization, and downloaded by the attackers. Although this is rather serious and a teachable moment, the details were not disclosed.
In the broad scope of the environment and industry, the breach has a relative level of seriousness due not only to the breach, but also the data. There were approximately 30,000 Victorian public servant’s work details accessed and downloaded. This included the list of government employees, work emails, job titles, and work phone numbers. The data may have also included their mobile phone numbers. Fortunately for the affected employees, this did not include any banking or financial information. Other private or sensitive data was likewise not included.
This list, while it does not include any financial information or sensitive PII, still is rather useful for the attackers. The set of uses, while still viable, is somewhat limited in scope. For instance, this may be used by anyone seeking to apply influence to any government decision (e.g. legislative, contracts, etc.). The list has all the attackers need to directly contact the appropriate parties for their inappropriate uses. This also could be used for phishing, spear phishing, and social engineering. With the list, the attacker would have a certain level of information that would be a good start to engineer a phishing or spear phishing attack, along with applying the information to a spear phishing attack. With this data, that attackers have the information they need to be successful in another attack. With the phishing and spear phishing attacks, there would be a payload assumptively with malware or other malicious programs.
ABC News. (2018, December 31). Data breach sees Victorian government employees’ details stolen. Retrieved from https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-01-01/victorian-government-employee-directory-dta-breach/10676932
Cyware. (2019, January 1). Hackers stole almost 30,000 Victorian public servants work details. Retrieved from https://cyware.com/news/hackers-stole-almost-30000-victorian-public-servants-work-details-3987b2fd
About the Author - Charles Parker, II has been working in the info sec field for over a decade, performing pen tests, vulnerability assessments, consulting with small- to medium-sized businesses to mitigate and remediate their issues, and preparing IT and info sec policies and procedures. Mr. Parker’s background includes work in the banking, medical, automotive, and staffing industries.