ANU data breach stretching back 19 years detected

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A massive data hack at the Australian National University resulting in unauthorised access to significant quantities of personal information, including bank account and passport details, stretching back 19 years has recently been detected.

A sophisticated operator accessed the ANU’s systems illegally in late 2018 but the breach was only detected two weeks ago, the university said in a statement.

“We believe there was unauthorised access to significant amounts of personal staff, student and visitor data extending back 19 years,” ANU Vice-Chancellor Brian Schmidt said.

“Depending on the information you have provided to the university, this may include names, addresses, dates of birth, phone numbers, personal email addresses and emergency contact details, tax file numbers, payroll information, bank account details, and passport details. Student academic records were also accessed.”

News of the breach comes months after another cyber security breach at the university, but ANU insisted then that no data was compromised.

ANU systems were also compromised by hackers based in China in 2017.

Cyber security expert Tom Uren, a senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said universities were good places to keep track of people’s histories.

“I imagine quite a few university students from ANU end up in Federal Government,” he told the ABC in August 2018.

“Inevitably some of them will become important people down the track.”

More to come.