The West Australian declares that this Monday, December 11, 2017, a cybercriminal from Vietnam hacked his way into the computer network at Perth International Airport, illicitly extracting large quantities of data and information, including but not limited to building plans and security details. The hacker, named Le Duc Hoang Hai, aged 31, illegally gathered the credentials of a external security contractor to breach the systems.
Alastair MacGibbon, the digital security adviser to Malcolm Turnball, Australian Prime Minister, explains that key systems were not affected by the hack.
The intrusion was spotted and reported by Perth Airport, who immediately informed the pertinent authorities, respectively the Australian Cybersecurity Centre in the Australian capital of Canberra and the Australian Federal Police.
The AFP were able to find the source of the attack in Vietnam. After reporting to their official counterparts in the Asian country, the local authorities managed to arrest Hai. A Vietnamese military court saw him convicted and sentenced to four years with full execution in prison.
The hacker has a track record of infrastructural hacks, having successfully assailed multiple Vietnamese digital portals such as those of banks, telecom firms, and even an online military news outlet. Nonetheless, the authorities believe that Perth Airport was the first and only target behind Australian borders.
Perth Airport CEO Kevin Brown explains in a declaration made to online publication nine.com.au that the Vietnamese hacker’s motives were accessing and stealing credit card information. He further states that the breach has not led to any data leakage for any citizens passing through the airport, but that documentation pertinent to the institution was unfortunately extracted.
Alastair MacGibbon says that there is nothing to point authorities towards the idea that Hai was part of a larger group of hackers. There is also nothing that suggests any ulterior sale of purchase of the acquired data.
The security adviser also explains that this type of investigative procedures is something that the Australian government is expecting to engage more frequently these days on account of extracting credentials from external contractors has become a common method for breaching security systems. Since 2016, this technique has been used multiple times to compromise firms and companies and their respective data.
The Airport CEO details that they have completely covered all possible angles of attack as per the data that has been stolen from airport servers, assessing risk and ensuring that traveler security and protection. He insists upon the fact that airport functionality and staff operating procedures were not impeded in any way.