GST site breach: AFP investigating

Glenn Carlos, GST Project Manager with the Office said today that the Office "We were looking for the most rapid system. If we had more time I probably would have spent three or four more weeks going through security, but I'm not even sure that would have been valid."

Questions also remain over whether the person who discovered, then reported the breach is himself guilty of an intrusion. Some of the 17,000 recipients of the original emails warning of the site's low security have been distributing their own messages of support for "K2", the identifying name used by "Kelly", the man originally identified as being responsible for the breach.

"K2 sent out 17,000 e-mail messages to business's registered with the Treasury's web site (http://www.gstassist.gov.au) containing our own bank account details," read one such email distributed today, which also included an email address set up to receive messages of support for K2. "He did this, not for fame or profit, but to highlight a security problem. He did not publish the information or broadcast anyone's details to anyone other than the information owner. He is a hero!"

Security experts remain divided over the value of the breach "Rather than let the problem go unnoticed, he informed the owners of the information that is vulnerable," said one industry insider. "The people whose bank account details were open to access with something as simple as an iteration of a number in a URL."

"Good design practices would have prevented this problem in the first place, disallowing users from accessing information other than their own or disallowing access to more than a certain numberof individual queries in a period of time and alerting system administrators, for example." Said another security analyst, adding that "The trend with other Government IT systems is to rigorously maintain separation between the "public face" of their systems and the "back end". Sadly, no firewall would have prevented this problem because as long as users are "tunnelled" through the firewall to an inherently flawed and insecure system behind the firewall, it's not a matter of if they'll break out - it's a matter of how and when."

It has been reported today that the Australian Federal Police are interviewing a suspect, with reports saying that the suspect is either a 20 year old unemployed man named Kelly, as reported yesterday, or is a 17 year old high school student, also called Kelly. Some reports suggest Kelly inadvertently discovered the breach while attempting to apply for an Australian Business Number himself, writing a simple CGI script which recorded page information for each of the database entrants and emailing them to inform of the breach. When asked why he had contacted the database entrants rather than authorities, Kelly said, "I found it quite shocking, I sent emails warning people that it could be done".

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Miguel D'Souza

PC World
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?