Second man charged as part of ongoing investigation into unauthorised access to company database, NSW

Cybercrime Squad detectives have charged a second man as part of an ongoing investigation into the unauthorised access to a company’s database.

In June last year, detectives from the State Crime Command’s Cybercrime Squad established Strike Force Vide to investigate unauthorised access to the main database and document store of an Australian-based company.

With assistance of company staff, investigators identified that unauthorised access was gained into the company’s database and more than 170,000 data records including personal information and valuation documents were uploaded to the dark web and the internet.

Further investigation revealed the unauthorised access to the database allegedly occurred between September 2017 and May 2019.

Following extensive inquiries, strike force detectives charged a 49-year-old man, who was a software contractor, in October last year. He remains before the courts.

As part of ongoing investigations, officers uncovered information that a physical fibre cable, which enabled data transmission between two businesses, was severed at a facility at Ultimo on Sunday 31 March 2019.

Police were told that electronic communication used by the Australian-based company was impaired for a 10-day period, resulting in significant financial loss.

Following further inquiries, detectives arrested a 39-year-old Arncliffe man at St George Police Station about 9am today (Friday 17 July 2020).

The man, who is a software contractor, was charged with unauthorised impairment of electronic communication.

He was granted strict conditional bail to appear at Sutherland Local Court on Tuesday 18 August 2020.

Cybercrime Squad Commander, Detective Acting Superintendent Gordon Arbinja, said detectives have conducted an extensive investigation resulting in two alleged offenders now before the courts.

“The community need to know how serious these offences are and the impact they can have on hard-working Australian businesses and their employees,” Det A/Supt Arbinja said.

“While the exact financial loss is yet to be determined, it is expected that nearly $50 million in combined market capital and revenue loss can be directed attributed to these offences.

“In addition, the company incurred a significant human cost – losing around 130 employees through contract terminations or redundancies.

“These alleged actions essentially crippled a company – leaving them without access to critical data for a significant period of time.

“NSW Police Force Cybercrime Squad detectives are specially trained to investigate technology-dependant crime, and any individual or business who suspects they are a victim of these kind of offences, is urged to come forward,” Det A/Supt Arbinja said.

Investigations under Strike Force Vide are continuing.

Anyone with information about technology-enabled crime is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or Information is treated in strict confidence.

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