MH370: ‘Boeing 777 Found’ E-mail Exposes Classified Information To Hackers

  @AringoYenko on August 20 2014 12:10 PM
Operators aboard the Australian Defense Vessel Ocean Shield move the U.S. Navy's Bluefin 21 autonomous underwater vehicle
Operators aboard the Australian Defense Vessel Ocean Shield move the U.S. Navy's Bluefin 21 autonomous underwater vehicle into position for deployment in the Southern Indian Ocean, as the search continues for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Reuters

Hackers were able to access classified MH370 information through an e-mail claiming that the Boeing 777 had been found.

Classified information had been stolen by hackers from the computers of high-ranking officials tasked at MH370 investigation - the Department of Civil Aviation, the National Security Council and Malaysia Airlines.

Authorities in CyberSecurity Malaysia found that highly-advanced malicious software, sent under the pretext of a news article saying that the missing Boeing 777 had been found, was used by the hackers to gain access to the computers. The e-mail was sent to the officials on March 9 following the very day when MH370 went missing.

"We received reports from the administrators of the agencies telling us that their network was congested with e-mail going out of their servers. Those e-mail contained confidential data from the officials' computers, including the minutes of meetings and classified documents," CyberSecurity Malaysia chief executive Dr Amirudin Abdul Wahab told The Star.

Investigation conducted by CyberSecurity Malaysia found that the information stolen were sent to an IP address in China. The agency had already asked a Chinese internet service provider to block the IP address.

Amirudin said that the hacking had been going from the time that there were accusations against the Malaysian Government of withholding information. But with the discovery of the hacking, it turned out that information were already out in the open even during the early months by which investigations were conducted.

"This was well-crafted malware that antivirus programs couldn't detect. It was a very sophisticated attack. At that time, there were some people accusing the Government of not releasing crucial information. But everything in the investigation had been disclosed. " Amirudin said.

Meanwhile, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) had already analysed and mapped around 41,000 square kilometres of the ocean floor of the high-priority search area - the 7th Arc.

The 7th arc measures at around 60,000 square kilometres.

The mapping process involves survey ships gathering the data from the ocean floor. These data are processed into a seamless usable form by Geoscience Australia to support a safe and effective deep-water search.

A comprehensive report on Definition of Underwater Search Areas was updated on August 18.

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