Australian National University Breach – How To Minimise Such Risk?

Australian National University (ANU) has confirmed that 19 years of student and staff records were compromised on the 17th of May 2019. During this data breach, hackers gained access to over 200,000 student and staff data including names, addresses, dates of birth, phone numbers, personal email addresses, emergency contact details, tax file numbers, payroll information, bank account details, passport details, and academic records.

ANU is now working with ASD through Australian Cyber Security Centre, and ACU notified the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC), and the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN) trying to secure the network and investigate the compromise.


What could we learn from this breach?

Vice-chancellor of ANU has confirmed that the university system was illegally accessed in mid-July 2018, yet the data breach was not detected until 10 months later in 2019.


“Following the incident reported last year, we undertook a range of upgrades to our systems to better protect our data. Had it not been for those upgrades, we would not have detected this incident,” Brian Schmidt, vice-chancellor of ANU, said.


Well, clearly simply upgrading the system based on annual incident report is not enough.


Based on this case, we can conclude that PreventionDetection and Response are vital in the battle against cyber-attackers,

  • Instead of waiting for the incident report, organisations need to have the right level of monitoring to detect any incident constantly. Since on average, businesses detect a breach about 15 months after an incident, the right level of monitoring running 24 x 7 and regular checking will minimise the risk of breaches going undetected.
  • If unfortunately your credentials were already compromised without you knowing, there is a big chance that cyber criminals will be selling your credentials on the Dark Web, to anyone who bids on it! You think there is nothing you can do? Wrong, you have the option to have an adequate detecting system notifying you if any of you credentials are found on the Dark Web, therefore you can quickly respond to it.


In this modern world, businesses must improve their overall cyber resilience so they can respond to and recover from a cyber-attack as quickly as possible.

They must engage with cyber professionals to ensure their data, information, and assets are well protected

– Gartner 2019


To minimise the possibility of you end up trying to recover from the financial and branding damages after a cyber-attack, Credential Exposure Monitoring, one of the solutions from OBT’s Managed Security Service Suite, combined human and artificial intelligence, is designed to help your organisations detect and mitigate cyber threats that leverage stolen credentials. It checks botnets, criminal chat rooms, blogs, Websites and bulletin boards, Peer to Peer networks, forums, private networks, and other black-market sites 24 x 7, 365 days a year to identify stolen credentials and other Personally Identifiable Information (PII).


As CRN Impact Awards winner three years running, OBT has proven to be the Most Trusted System in Cyber Security both 2018 and 2019.

Learn more about our comprehensive approach to cyber security and reach out to our team to see how you can achieve a strategy that safeguards your organisation.

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