18:51 GMT +320 January 2020
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    Leakage of data from the Canberra-based Australian National University (ANU), which purportedly has close links with the Australian government, reportedly started in late 2018 and was detected only two weeks ago.

    The Australian National University has discovered that it had become a victim of a major hack, resulting in the loss of "significant" amounts of sensitive 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 student academic records.

    Vice-chancellor Brian Schmidt informed staff and students in a message that someone got "unauthorised access to significant amounts of personal staff, student, and visitor data extending back 19 years," according to The Guardian.

    "In late 2018, a sophisticated operator accessed our systems illegally. We detected the breach two weeks ago," Schmidt said."We're working closely with Australian government security agencies and industry security partners to investigate further."

    READ MORE: Computer Network of Australian Parliament Hit by Cyberattack — Reports

    Even though ANU hasn't named those responsible for the hack, AFP reports that the breach was blamed on a "sophisticated state actor" with "experts" pointing to Beijing.

    Schmidt noted that ANU is working closely with the country's government security agencies and "industry security partners to investigate further."

    "The University has taken immediate precautions to further strengthen our IT security and is working continuously to build on these precautions to reduce the risk of future intrusion," Schmidt said as cited by AFP.

    ANU is a top university in the country, with tens of thousands of students attending each year, and alumni including ex-Australian prime ministers and other officials, according to AFP report.    

    READ MORE: Criminals Hack Dozens of Australian Webcams, Post Videos on YouTube


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