• Austal manufactures littoral combat ships for the US Navy, which have been unaffected by the breach. Credit: @Austal_USA via Twitter
    Austal manufactures littoral combat ships for the US Navy, which have been unaffected by the breach. Credit: @Austal_USA via Twitter
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Austal Australia has been hit by a cyber security breach and a subsequent extortion attempt.

In a statement released through the Australian stock exchange, Austal said that the 'unknown offender' had attempted to sell stolen materials online. Austal is not responding to the extortion attempt.

"Austal referred this matter to the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) and the Australian Federal Police who have provided ongoing assistance and advice," the company said.

"Austal Australia’s Information Systems and Technology team have restored the security and integrity of the company’s data systems and have implemented, and continues to implement, additional security measures to prevent further breaches.

"A small number of stakeholders who were potentially directly impacted have been informed."

The statement indicated that the offender stole unclassified ship design drawings, email addresses, and mobile phone numbers. No classified technology has been compromised.

"Ship design drawings which may be distributed to customers and fabrication sub-contractors or suppliers are neither sensitive nor classified."

Defence released a statement confirming that the breach was confined to unclassified material.

"As the investigation continues, the Department of Defence can confirm that no compromise of classified or sensitive information or technology has been identified so far.

"Defence and the ACSC have provided cyber security assistance to Austal and are working with Austal to assess and mitigate harm.

"This incident reinforces the serious nature of the cyber security threat faced by defence industry, and the need for industry partners to put in place, and maintain, strong cyber defences."

The breach did not affect Austal's business in the US, which uses an unlinked computer system. Austal manufactures Independence-class littoral combat ships for the US Navy.

The matter has been referred to the Australian Federal Police and ACSC and is now the subject of an investigation.

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