The Australian National University (ANU) confirmed on Tuesday hackers breached their cyber defense system in order to access sensitive data, including students bank and passport details going back 19 years.
The university said they discovered the breach two weeks ago only, and it was carried out by some ‘’sophisticated operator.”
Last year in July, they thwarted an attempt to hack their network system. According to media reports at that time, the bid originated in China.
“National community agencies are recruiting directly out of ANU,” said Fergus Hanson, head of the International Cyber Policy Centre at think-tank the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. “To have information around particular people who are working in different departments… that would be very useful.”
Australia’s cyber intelligence agency said they are still investigating who was behind the attack.
“It does appear to be the work of a sophisticated actor,” a representative of the Australian Signals Directorate said in an emailed statement. “It is too early to speculate about connections to other compromises.”
However, China has always denied its involvement in any kind of hacking attacks and its embassy in Australia did not respond to a request from Reuters for comment.