Submarine network operator Pacnet hit by major system hack, thousand of customer details leaked

Asia’s largest undersea submarine cable company Pacnet was hacked into by unknown hackers. The company which has recently been acquired by Australian telecommunications giant Telstra today confirmed that it has been the victim of a cyberattack targeting its email and administration systems and potentially exposing sensitive data of thousands of business and government customers.

Spokesperson for Telstra said that an unauthorised third party had been able to gain access to the Pacnet business management systems through a malicious software installed via a vulnerability on an SQL server.

According to Telstra the cyber attack took place just weeks before it concluded the $550mn (approx. £350mn) takeover of Pacnet on 16th April this year. It also said that it was not aware of the hacking attack while signing the takeover deal.

In addition to its customers like government and telcos, the Pactel employee information may also be exposed to the hackers though at present there is no indication of such data being used for malicious purpose. However as in case with other hack attacks, the data may surface at later date on the underground forums.

“We have no evidence that data was taken from the Pacnet corporate network,” said Mike Burgess, corporate security and investigation CIO at Telstra.

“Whilst we will look into who was behind the breach we may never know as attribution is very difficult. We have not had any contact from the perpetrators nor do we know the reason behind this activity,” he added.

Pacnet is Hong Kong and Singapore-based company and owns approximately 28,000 miles of submarine fibre networks in the Asia Pacific region and provides internet protocol virtual private network (VPN) services in China.

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