Australia identified as the link in a major Chinese hack!

By Cameron Abbott and Jessica McIntosh

According to the US, China is trying to advance its aviation manufacturing capability using stolen information – and the latest is…. the information is being stolen out of Australia!

An Australian IT company dubbed “Company L” has been placed smack bang in the middle of a major hacking case in the US where US authorities have very publically and powerfully accused China of using compromised domain names to steal important aviation technology, alarmingly this has been happening for the large part of the last five years.

The US Department of Justice has described this operation as one whereby under the direction of the Chinese Ministry of State Security, Chinese hackers have penetrated the computer systems of an “Australian domain name registrar” as part of a broader scheme to hijack the computer systems of aviation companies, both in the US and Europe. Effectively confirming what the US continues to describe as China engaging in “a state-led, industrial –policy-based, whole-of-nation competitive strategy that revolves in crucial ways around the acquisition of sensitive foreign technologies by any, and every, possible means” and in this case, Australia was China’s back door entry point.

It is alleged that China’s access via the compromised Australian IT registrar allowed hackers to create fake domain names and redirect existing domain names to malicious addresses with the intent being to target clients on the registrar, specifically a French company who was working in partnership with US companies in developing jet engine technology for commercial airlines.

The US suggests that it is not coincidence that China is currently deploying state efforts to develop a similar engine for its own jetliner. What’s worse, China simultaneously publically promotes how by acquiring these technologies they are able to be adjusted and re- applied elsewhere……their military!

As trade tensions continue to rise between US and China, there seems to be a determination in the US to more publicly expose this allegedly state sponsored cybercrime and it certainly is an eye opener!

Copyright © 2018, K&L Gates LLP. All Rights Reserved.