NSW Education probes 180k Exchange accounts

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NSW Education probes 180k Exchange accounts

Eyes internal and external suspects after breach.

The NSW Department of Education is investigating more than 180,000 Microsoft Exchange accounts for further evidence of a security breach thought to be behind an unauthorised email last week.

The email, claiming to be from the department’s Director-General Dr Michele Bruniges, was delivered to all departmental staff on Thursday afternoon.

Dr Bruniges was away on annual leave at the time. NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli blamed the email on a hacker.

A spokesperson for the Department of Education told iTnews that the department’s Information Technology Directorate was investigating the breach and whether any of the 180,000 other email accounts it managed were affected.

“There are a number of ways that this could have occurred,” he said, noting that internal and external suspects would be considered.

“We’re not doing it to a timescale ... If there is evidence that a criminal offense has occurred, of course we will pass this to the police.”

Criticising funding cuts

The fraudulent email accused the NSW Government of breaking election promises and advised staff on how to indirectly fight $1.7 billion in planned budget cuts, announced last month.

It was followed by an email from acting Director-General Greg Prior an hour later, that advised staff that the email was “not written or endorsed by the Director-General or any of her staff”.

Piccoli told parliament last week that the incident was a “crime”, and perpetrators “should not underestimate my determination to find them and have them punished severely”.

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