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Hackers compromised Emergency Warning System and send email and text messages to thousands of Australians


After infiltrating the emergency warning system (i.e. Early Warning Network) used by governments, a hacker has been able to message directly thousands of Australians. EWN (Early Warning Network) is used by the local, federal and state governments for alerting Australians to the emergency situations, and its database holds home and mobile phone numbers as well as email addresses.


The breach of EWN is supposed to have happened on January 5, 2019, when the hackers sent messages via SMS and email to a small part of the EWN's database.


The message read: "EWN has been hacked. Your personal data is not safe. We are trying to fix the security issues". The message further prompted the users to email the provided address in case they would like to unsubscribe from this service. The text message of the hacker also included a website link offering customer support; however it is still not clear whether the breach has been a phishing attempt.


EWN by a message on their Facebook page said that the messages of the hackers' were distributed through text message, email and landline. "EWN staff at the time were able to quickly identify the attack and shut off our systems limiting the amount of messages sent out. Unfortunately, a small proportion of our database received this alert," states the message from EWN providers. So the company has urged residents to avoid clicking the links, and also delete the message.


EWN has confirmed that this attack has been launched from within Australia. Kerry Plowright, the company's managing director, said that the purpose of this attack was to damage the business, and blamed that "compromised login details" is responsible for the unauthorised access. Plowright further added that "this event did not compromise anybody's personal information. The actual data held in our system is just 'white pages'-type data, we deliberately don't hold any other personal information".


Plowright said that not all clients of the company have been affected. However, those who got affected were from local, federal and state government agencies.


As per the company, their warning system remained completely operational during this breach; and they were working with the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) and the Queensland Police on the investigation.


» SPAMfighter News - 1/22/2019

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