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A man who used the online nickname “Evil” has been charged with cyber attacks that police alleged could have caused considerable damage to Australia’s national infrastructure.
The 25-year-old unemployed truck driver, who had been unable to find a job in information technology, faces 49 charges after a six-month investigation into his online activities.
The activities include hacking into the systems of Platform Networks, one of the 13 service providers for the National Broadband Network (NBN), the largest infrastructure project in Australia’s history.
Potentially, customers could have lost their services, depending on the security back-up they had in place.
“While Platform Networks had strong cyber security measures in place, even the best security systems are only as strong as the weakest link,” said Neil Gaughan, the federal police’s High Tech Crime Operations manager.
“It only takes one user with a weak password to put an entire network at risk,” he added.
Australian news network, ABC has revealed that the hacker’s real name is David Cecil. Police, the network adds, were tipped off by Cecil bragging about his plans in an internet chat room.
Police allege the man spent up to 20 hours a day on his home computer as he worked on the attack, motivated by ego after failing to secure a job in the IT sector.
“The Australian Federal Police will allege in court that this person acted with an extreme and unusual level of malice and with no regard to the damage caused, indiscriminately targeting both individuals and companies,” said Gaughan.
Cecil is due to appear in court Wednesday charged with one count of unauthorised modification of data to cause impairment, and 48 counts of unauthorised access to, or modification of restricted data.
The first charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail while the second count carries a maximum sentence of two years.
Unlike the hackers behind a series of attacks on Australia’s anti-piracy infrastructure in 2010, there is no indication that “Evil” has any affiliation with “hacktivist” group Anonymous. –AFP