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April 10, 2015

Australian Tech Company Hacked; Conference Attendees' Info Compromised

The Business Spectator is reporting that Linux Australia, a "peak body" for Open Source communities in the country, has acknowledged that a recent attack on one of its servers could have provided hackers with access to personal member information, including names, addresses and phone numbers.

Linux Australia represents an estimated 5,000 Australian users and developers of free software and open technologies, and facilitates events including linux.conf.au, which it calls "Australasia's grassroots Free and Open Source Software Conference." The buffer overflow attack on one of its servers took place on March 22. 

Linux Australia president Joshua Hesketh, who has led the organization since 2013, said the exploit utilized a “currently unknown vulnerability.” 

According to MeetPie.com, the hacker accessed the server, which contained details including the names, addresses, emails and passwords of all the delegates attending Linux Australia’s recent conferences and events.

A spokesperson for cloud-based event management platform Cvent told the UK-based MICE website: “There are a number of tactics planners can use to improve data security, starting with technology vendor selection. Third party expert groups like PCI certify different technologies. It is challenging to secure most of these endorsements, so planners can feel more confident in selecting companies that have earned and maintain them. 

“They should also ask about the processes around data, as they can prove a more vulnerable point than the technology itself. For example, does a registration company keep hard copies of information in storage somewhere as a backup, and if so, how do they protect it from theft? The potential for risk goes far beyond the event itself. Fortunately it is manageable if the right steps are taken in the planning process.” 


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