The arrest of a man over hacking charges has sparked a warning to Australian businesses to protect themselves from cyber crime.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) arrested a 25-year-old man from Cowra on Wednesday (27 July) in connection with attempts to hack into the security systems of a number of Australian IT company networks, including one associated with NBN Co.
The AFP alleged in court on Wednesday that the man infiltrated the companies' security systems causing significant financial and reputational damage. The affected companies include Distribute IT, Sydney University, Better Off Networks and Platform Networks.
"Cyber crime is not a victimless crime. The AFP continues to investigate the attack on Distribute IT, which resulted in it going into receivership. About 150,000 of its customers were affected and up to $5 million in damages was sustained," said Minister for Justice Brendan O'Connor.
Platform Networks was a retail customer of NBN Co however NBN Co systems were not breached as the company was not assisting with the roll out of the network.
Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland said Australian businesses should be vigilant when it comes to online security and take simple precautions.
"Employee education, monitoring network traffic, completing background checks on staff and robust account and password policies can be very effective," said McClelland.
O'Conner warned that cyber crime was an increasing threat as technologies evolve.
"Malicious computer hacking won't be tolerated. Such criminality poses a serious risk to companies, and in the worst cases can threaten security and economic prosperity," he said.