July 12, 2006
AN ITALIAN court has sentenced a group of hackers who penetrated the
Australian Department of Defence's website and about 700 others, including
the Pentagon's and NASA's.
The Italian hackers penetrated the Defence Department's website on March
Italian police specialising in cyber crime identified the group
responsible four years ago, but their trial ended only last week.
Italian police claim it is the first time in the world that a group of
hackers, rather than individuals, has been nabbed.
They informed the embassies of the countries concerned during their
They received collaboration from the US but had no response from
Australia, they said. "There must have been a link missing somewhere," a
senior fiscal police official said.
The Australian websites targeted included home pages of federal, state and
local government agencies.
The group included four young adults and two minors. They had no criminal
records and admitted their crimes.
The adults each received a 17-month jail sentence from a court in Ravenna.
The minors' trial in Bologna has not yet concluded.
Colonel Umberto Rapetto, commander of the crime unit, said two of the
hackers knew each other personally but met their accomplices through
internet. They began their activities for mischief but could have been
used for spying or crime, he said.
Other Australian targets included the Queensland Parliament website and
Gold Coast theme parks. Another state target was the website of EcoRecycle
Victoria, a State Government agency for environmental sustainability,
which has since become Sustainability Victoria.
The offenders also hacked into three shire councils in three states:
Cardinia in Victoria, Coffs Harbour in NSW and Dalrymple in Queensland.
A spokesman for the Australian Federal Police said they did not receive a
referral regarding the matter and because of this "it is inappropriate to
Australian sites penetrated:
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