SYDNEY (Reuters) – The Australian security chief said on Tuesday that an investigation into the piracy of defense subcontractor Austal Ltd could take years, rejecting a local press report that his agency had concluded that the attack had occurred in Iran.
Austal said earlier this month that hackers had breached its defenses to gain access to ship design, as well as access to staff e-mail addresses and mobile phone numbers.
The attack sparked an investigation by the Australian Cyber Security Center (ACSC), the country's largest cyber security unit. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported Tuesday that the CCAA had determined that criminals in Iran were behind the attack, but the CCAA rejected the report.
"Some may have suspicions, but we can not conclude that it comes from one country in particular," Alastair MacGibbon, director of the CSCA, told Reuters.
"It's easy to speculate, but the attribution can take months, if not years."
While the investigation continues, MacGibbon said the CACS could still determine piracy of Iranian origin, which has been identified in recent years by Western intelligence services as a major source of cyber-attacks.
A spokesman for the Iranian Embassy in Canberra told Reuters that the country's government was not behind the attack, although he acknowledged the presence of cyber criminals.
"It may be somebody in Iran but it was not our government," the spokesman told Reuters.
Austal manufactures defense ships for several markets, including the United States. The company said its company did not affect its operations in the United States.
Report by Colin Packham