Support Staff survives data theft attempt

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Support Staff survives data theft attempt

Recruiter speaks out after thief tries to put malware on computer.

A recruiter hit by a thief attempting to install malware had fielded calls from government departments anxious for assurances that the business's IT systems were not breached.

Support Staff Australasia's managing director Richard Gilham told iTnews he had assurances from police investigators and his IT team that the thief did not access its mainframe.

"If he'd got through to the mainframe he would have got access to numerous amounts of information on overseas partners, international candidates and all of our local information," Gilham said.

"I need to emphasise he wasn't successful."

More details have emerged about the bizarre break-in, which saw remote access software installed on a Support Staff PC.

The suspect tried to log into computers before he gained access to one - explaining why it took three hours to install the code.

And the thief allegedly wore gloves while working by torchlight. The security footage also allegedly showed the suspect pull a piece of software out of his pocket and install it on the compromised machine.

Gilham said the thief stole "a couple of monitors" and broke into filing cabinets and offices - but he believed these were diversions designed to "mask the real intent".

"The purpose of the visit was not to steal equipment. It was information-based," Gilham said.

He believed the thief was after a labour agreement that took 18 months to write. The agreement was the basis of the business that sponsors British nurses to work in Australia.

It was central to the recruiter's expansion plans. Support Staff runs the nursing sponsorship business in South Australia but plans to grow nationally.

"If someone didn't have to do that hard work [to enter the industry] that would be very valuable to them," Gilham said.

"We're intent on catching this person. They were obviously working for someone else."

The business will harden physical and IT security in response.

South Australia's e-crimes unit wasinvestigating the break-in.

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