An attempt to crack the Australian Stock Exchange has been traced to a US military base according to reports.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Richard Humphry, managing director of the Exchange, contacted the United States' Defence Department to complain. Humphry reportedly claimed that crackers tried to get into the database of the nation's stock exchange and "broke into another Website to achieve that objective".
According to Humphry, the perpetrators were traced back to an airforce installation based in a western US state. Details of what information the assailants targeted or may have captured were not released by the stock exchange.
Ian Johnston-Bryden, a British expert on military and government security believes the US military is by no means above this seemingly blatant attack. "There are certain parts of the US military that believe that the law does not apply to them when they are in hot pursuit of someone," he says. "This is quite likely considering it was a stock-exchange."
Johnston-Bryden suggests US governmental intelligence departments are increasingly involved in covert computer activities. "Since the cold war, intelligence agencies have been redirected into commercial intelligence gathering. It could be that one of these agencies have been using a US military address, but it would be unusual for them not to take extreme measures to disguise themselves."
Humphry has reportedly received assurances from the US Defence Department that there was no official attempt to break into the exchange.
This comes just two week after the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) admitted that it is aware of a number of UK financial institutions having been hit by cyber extortion attempts and also coincides with the UK government plans to monitor Internet traffic.
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