Australia Bureau of Meteorology Hacked by China

“Massive” breach in Australia Meteorology Service may have exposed network connections to Defense, other agencies

According to a government official quoted by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, China is responsible for a breach at the Bureau of Meteorology, which may have allowed attackers to gain access to sensitive national security data. The Australian weather bureau hosts a high-performance computing center used by multiple government agencies and has network connections to Australia’s Department of Defense.

The breach was described as “massive” by the unnamed government official, who told ABC News that he was certain “it was China” that breached the systems. He added that fixing the Bureau of Meteorology’s network to close the holes used to gain access would cost millions of dollars.

There has been no official statement on the breach. Australia’s Federal Police would not comment on the ABC report, and the government has made it a policy not to speak about specific computer security events. A spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry has said the report contains “groundless accusations.”

The Bureau of Meteorology operates “Solar,” an Oracle-constructed high performance computing center based on a cluster of 576 dual-processor blade servers primarily used to run weather models. It also provides “environmental intelligence” data to other government agencies about climate and weather around the world, including Australia’s military.

Coincidentally, news of the breach broke as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull arrived in Paris for global climate talks.

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