Hackers’ Breach of Australian Regional Water Supplier Went Undetected 9 Months

Australia’s Queensland’s largest regional water supplier, Sunwater, says hackers targeted it in a cyber security breach that went undetected for nine months.

Last year, the hackers left suspicious files on a webserver to redirect visitor traffic to an online video platform. The breach occurred between August 2020 and May 2021 and involved unauthorized access to the entity’s web server that stored customer information. Weaknesses in an older, more vulnerable Sunwater system had allowed the cyber breach to remain undetected for nine months.

Sunland said no financial or customer data had been compromised, and it took immediate steps to improve security once it detected unauthorized access. The Sunwater revelation followed a Queensland’s Audit Office report into the state’s water authorities that did not name Sunwater.

SunWater, the trading name of SunWater Limited, is a statutory Queensland Government-owned corporation that supplies bulk water to over 5,000 customers and water consultancy services to a range of institutional clients in the Wide Bay–Burnett and North West regions of Queensland, Australia. SunWater was established on 1 October 2000 pursuant to the Government Owned Corporations Act 1993 and the Corporations Act 2001.

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