Treasury refer claimed hacking to police following budget leak

The budget leak publicised by National yesterday has got a lot murkier, with Treasury now saying they have been hacked. The matter has been referred to the police, but Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges is unrepentant for trying to hijack Thursday’s budget announcement.

The leak looks embarrassing for the Government, and also for Treasury, but I think the leak stunt also reflects very poorly on Bridges and National. Bridges has demanded that Minister of Finance Grant Robertson resign over the leak.

1 News: Budget 2019 leaks by National came after Treasury was ‘deliberately and systematically hacked’

Earlier today the National Party leaked what it claimed were highly secretive details of the Government’s wellbeing Budget, due to be delivered on Thursday.

Treasury has confirmed in a statement it was the source of National’s Budget 2019 leaks today after its “systems were deliberately and systematically hacked”.

Confirming the hack this evening Treasury released the following statement:

“Following this morning’s media reports of a potential leak of Budget information, the Treasury has gathered sufficient evidence to indicate that its systems have been deliberately and systematically hacked.

“The Treasury has referred the matter to the Police on the advice of the National Cyber Security Centre.

“The Treasury takes the security of all the information it holds extremely seriously. It has taken immediate steps today to increase the security of all Budget-related information and will be undertaking a full review of information security processes.

“There is no evidence that any personal information held by the Treasury has been subject to this hacking.”

Responding to confirmation of the the hack, Finance Minister Grant Robertson said is a statement:

“This is extremely serious and is now a matter for the Police. We have contacted the National Party tonight to request that they do not release any further material, given that the Treasury said they have sufficient evidence that indicates the material is a result of a systematic hack and is now subject to a Police investigation.”

But Bridges continued on the attack:

If it turns out that budget documents were hacked from Treasury will Bridges resign for using hacked material to try to undermine the Government?

 

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58 Comments

  1. David

     /  29th May 2019

    As if it was a hack, do Labour expect us to believe there is some fat teenager in his Mums basement in Belarus code breaking the NZ treasury on the pay of National. Maybe Mallard could be called in he likes the wild accusation.
    Its fairly obvious there is some government worker has leaked it.
    I hope Bridges is enjoying this moment it must feel a bit sweet after his travel expenses were leaked to embarrass him, everyone delighted in that.

    Reply
    • Griff.

       /  29th May 2019

      You dont know.
      Until such time a you actually do you are trying to spread fake news .
      There is a reason why budgets are a closely guarded secret until officially launched.
      Hacking or even exposing budget details is not the same as releasing MP’s expenses a few days early.
      One has no real value the other can be worth lots of money to the right persons.

      Reply
      • David

         /  29th May 2019

        Its obvious its not a hack, why would someone go to the expense and trouble and potential jail time for hacking our Treasury to score political points ?
        There is probably some small value in perhaps in getting ahead of the release in the currency market but if that was your aim why would you give the details away and give up your position.
        Hacking and leaking to National makes zero sense.

        Reply
        • Why would National go public with budget details two days before the budget?

          Reply
          • David

             /  29th May 2019

            Because thats what any opposition would do, there is not a single opposition party that wouldnt do it if they had the goods.
            Labour gleefully did this sort of thing in opposition and generally when Key was overseas so he would get zero good copy.

            Reply
          • Gerrit

             /  29th May 2019

            Because they can. Causes embarrassment and makes the government look weak.

            Mind you they really need to start looking at making political capital from this type of nepotism.

            https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/113067163/shane-jones-introduced-stan-semenoff-as-possible-nzta-board-member

            Reply
          • Duker

             /  29th May 2019

            “Why would National go public with budget details two days before the budget”

            Why did JLR release Bridges limo expenses 5 days before they were going to be released ?

            Timing is everything in politics… plus you get first mover advantage in the bit of a news vacuum in the days before the budget news ‘avalanche’

            Reply
          • Corky

             /  29th May 2019

            That of course is where the true hack lies. Simple Simon has thrown away any moral high ground National had over the sleazy Left. He looks weak. The thinking voter we be asking why he’s trying to rain on Labours parade when he should be worrying about Nationals response to the budget and highlighting National economic and social direction should they win the election.
            People are tiring of this type of bs. They want change. And Simon, by using yesterdays political tactics is showing he’s a yesterdays man.

            MEANwhile, Judith Collins is sounding more like Nationals leader everytime she speaks.

            Reply
    • NOEL

       /  29th May 2019

      Its been suggest that
      “A more likely scenario is that someone used a spider or crawler program to find ‘hidden’ content in the Treasury website, which is not considered a cyber-attack, and may have found the Budget 2019 files which were not protected properly at that stage.

      That makes more sense than some of the hypotheses.

      So the successful hacker eventually hit pay dirt then probably cc all and sundry except perhaps the Coalition. The media on receiving their copy were already preparing articles around the Budget and took the approach the information was embargoed so there was no advantage for them apart from been able to have a cut and paste facility before the hard copy was released.

      That left National who with glee thought here’s an opportunity and went with it.

      Reply
  2. Maggy Wassilieff

     /  29th May 2019

    It’s no hack.
    Just some failure to place material securely on the web.

    Reply
    • Has that been confirmed? Or are you speculating?

      Reply
      • Trevors_elbow

         /  29th May 2019

        Calling it a hack with no evidence of a hack is a speculative assumption as well.. but the press ran with that speculation and you have repeated it Pete.

        Physician heal thyself comes to mind for some reason.

        Reply
    • David

       /  29th May 2019

      Its pretty obvious that if someone was going to hack the NZ Treasury they would be doing it for far bigger purposes than leaking Robertson pissing hard earned taxpayers dollars at Peters. Something that might move the currency perhaps or the bond market ?
      The Treasury Secretary looks like an idiot at this stage for using Mallardesque hyperbole, surprised no one has blamed the Russians and Trump yet.

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  29th May 2019

        The reality is National DOES have confidential information ahead of its release AND its not in the usual printed budget booklet format.

        No doubt they will be providing full and detailed information to the Police who are investigating a crime…or will they stonewall like they always do ….

        Reply
  3. Patzcuaro

     /  29th May 2019

    Storm in a teacup unless the material was gained illegally.

    Reply
    • lurcher1948

       /  29th May 2019

      Simon Bridges taken into custody by the police and the GCSB for receiving stolen documents,it could be a possibility today,NO ONE’S above the law Simon,and you as a police prosecutor should know that.

      Reply
      • Gerrit

         /  29th May 2019

        Bit like Hager was? And he made money from writing a book based on stolen (hacked) emails.

        How short the left sided hemisphere memories are.

        Reply
    • Duker

       /  29th May 2019

      “Storm in a teacup unless the material was gained illegally.”

      It is illegal to acess any business/entity for information like that.

      Where do you get the idea ‘not illegal’ , where have you been in the last decade about the countless illegal hacks of everything under the sun. And we arent talking public websites here, its the companies internal files and documents storage.

      Reply
      • Duker

         /  29th May 2019

        Crimes involving Computer (Crimes Act Section 248- Interpretation)
        http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1961/0043/latest/DLM330416.html

        ‘248 Interpretation
        For the purposes of this section and sections 249 to 252,—
        access, in relation to any computer system, means instruct, communicate with, store data in, receive data from, or otherwise make use of any of the resources of the computer system
        authorisation includes an authorisation conferred on a person by or under an enactment or a rule of law, or by an order of a court or judicial process
        computer system—
        (a)
        means—
        (i)
        a computer; or
        (ii)
        2 or more interconnected computers; or
        (iii)
        any communication links between computers or to remote terminals or another device; or
        (iv)
        2 or more interconnected computers combined with any communication links between computers or to remote terminals or any other device; and
        (b)
        includes any part of the items described in paragraph (a) and all related input, output, processing, storage, software, or communication facilities, and stored data.

        Reply
  4. Gerrit

     /  29th May 2019

    Interesting read from Idiot/Savant referenced story at Kiwiblog

    https://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2019/05/my_guess_as_to_what_happened.html

    He found the budget quite simply by searching a cached Google link. Seems someone put up the budget document to test the link on the treasury web site. Once opened and tested it was deleted and and the old budget document put in its place. Unfortunately Google had cached it already and thus, by following his nose, found by Idiot/Savant.

    No hack at all.

    As an aside if one wanted to get a copy of the document the easiest target is the printers LAN. The printers would have received the document (PDF form? via email?) and loaded it into their system ready for printing. How secure is the printers LAN and WAN?

    Treasury and the state computer systems are pretty secure, the printers? Who knows.

    Reply
    • David

       /  29th May 2019

      Goes to prove Labour couldnt run a bath let alone a country.

      Reply
      • lurcher1948

         /  29th May 2019

        David, Arderns the PM and you are a nobody wearing only underpants in the gloom posting here,just saying*
        * lets check out PGs right of reply,”right of free speech”sean plunket style

        Reply
        • David

           /  29th May 2019

          I was at the gym, it wasnt gloomy and I was definitely dressed properly.

          Reply
    • Duker

       /  29th May 2019

      ” Seems someone put up the budget document to test the link on the treasury web site”

      It seems ?
      No need to put up the actual document to test that. Google cache doesnt include everything , like they suggest …even links that happens in a few minutes.

      Quite simple to prevent a google cache too
      https://stackoverflow.com/questions/6251655/how-to-protect-a-site-from-google-caching

      Reply
      • Gerrit

         /  29th May 2019

        Quite right, there is no need test the link with the actual document, but when we get sloppy we don’t think through all the permutations.

        Also the disable google (or Yandex, Baidu, Duck Duck Go, etc.) caching, the meta tag “meta name=”robots” content=”noarchive”” has to sit in the page header. Presuming that documents were obtainable through caching indicates the tag was not present on the page.

        Again inexcusable sloppy coding. Mind you the person putting up the links may not have realised that the meta tag was not present, especially if they had not created the original page but were simply adding or altering links to an existing page.

        How many people editing not their own web pages would scroll to the top and view the meta tags in the header? Not many I would say. Nor would they question the lack of that meta tag.

        Reply
    • Gezza

       /  29th May 2019

      Explains Bridges’s confidence. Mark Mitchell & Stuart Nash on Hosking’s Breakfast Show. Nash says Marklouf claims info came from a hack & we should leave it to the police to investigate it. Mark Mitchell insists that even if there was an attempt to hack Treasury, the information National has released did NOT come from a hack.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  29th May 2019

        Stuff.co
        May 29, 2019 8:11 AM
        Henry Cooke
        Cached public page has links to documents

        A public-facing page on the Treasury website appears to have briefly had links to document titles matching the policy areas Bridges released details on yesterday.

        The page, which is no longer available online but is cached by Google, shows links to every estimate for 2019/20 year in the various areas National released figures from, except for the Serious Fraud Office.

        The documents themselves were not cached and now return authentication errors when the links are clicked.

        A spokeswoman for Treasury said that nothing had been removed, however.

        “The documents weren’t uploaded to a publicly available website and then removed,” she said.

        Earlier yesterday Robertson said he had been told by Treasury it routinely uploaded placeholder sites, but not the information itself.

        This morning Treasury Secretary Gabriel Makhlouf has suggested some Budget information was “online” but was in an area the public couldn’t access.

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  29th May 2019

          That would be right .. Henry Cooke from Stuff running Nationals lines ..

          Reply
      • Blazer

         /  29th May 2019

        how would Mitchell know,was he the contact?

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  29th May 2019

          Who knows. He didn’t say. Bridges has been talking to media this morning. He’s not saying where it came from either but denies it was obtained illegally. Spinning it out. What a freakin mess.

          Reply
          • Duker

             /  29th May 2019

            has Simon said its ‘pretty legal ‘ yet?
            Trouble with Simons ‘spinning’ his own caucus will leak like to sieve , all the better to implicate him.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  29th May 2019

              Unlikely, I think. He’s too cocksure to have obtained this information illegally & I think at the moment anyone in his own caucus spilling the beans on where this info came from would be committing political suicide with their own colleagues.

              Their best bet is to wait & watch his poll ratings.

  5. Zedd

     /  29th May 2019

    the question is.. who supplied the ‘details’ to Natl OR how did they get it ? :/

    Reply
    • Gerrit

       /  29th May 2019

      Was the legend hacker “Rawshark”. Sold to the highest bidder.

      Reply
      • Zedd

         /  29th May 2019

        now its being investigated by Police.. I will not add further to the speculation :/

        BUT; sounds about right Gerrit

        Reply
  6. duperez

     /  29th May 2019

    Simon Bridges is in full fight mode trying to depict Robertson as useless and a liar.

    “We are seeing a bungling, incompetent Government,” Bridges said.
    “We’ve got a Beehive where it’s amateur hour”.
    “The reality is they are incredibly embarrassed, they’re not in control of what they’re doing, and so they are lashing out and they are having a witch hunt on the National Party”.

    Maybe he’s learning as at least at Parliament he didn’t focus on their integrity. Doing that might have invited questions about his other utterances there about things like petitions being taken down and junior staffers.

    ‘Bungling, incompetent, amateur hour and embarrassed’ might have come into play too.
    Maybe now he’ll call for an inquiry. 🙃

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/113055687/live-national-party-claims-its-got-leaked-budget-details

    Reply
  7. Alan Wilkinson

     /  29th May 2019

    Herald has two stories taking opposite sides. Their technical journo says it wasn’t hacked in the business section:
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12235376

    Their press gallery is gunning for Bridges on the assumption it was:
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12235374

    The latter is mostly because Bridges is now seen as a soft target, I suspect.

    Reply
    • duperez

       /  29th May 2019

      Every Tomasina, Dick and Harriet seems to have a theory about what happened. Many presented not as possibilities of course but as the ‘true oil.’ A true oil which turns immediately into The Gospel.

      Minute by minute media demands that there is no time to take a breath, stay calm and wait for reason and investigations to take place.

      The only technical journos, political hacks and biased bystanders who know what happened are those who have all the appropriate information from all sources. That’s no-one.

      Reply
    • Audrey Young states Bridges needed to do two things: Tell us who his source was and offer full assistance to the police. This is advice that the arch-survivor Winston Peters would ignore. He’d tell Audrey he couldn’t reveal his sources and if she as a journalist didn’t understand why its because she is so useless at her job.

      Can Simon think on his feet like Winnie? I doubt it.

      Reply
      • David

         /  29th May 2019

        Its a bit rich the Herald wanting sources revealed and cooperation with plod on a witchunt, how many times did they gleefully run Labours attacks without calling for sources etc.
        Those ladies love having exclusive access to the baby to be objective anymore, Ardern has played them like a fiddle and I have to say I quite admire her for it.

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  29th May 2019

          What exclusive acess to the baby? there was one or two photos and then nothing. Compared to that publicity hound Bridges and his wife who have paraded his young kids multiple times in ‘at home exclusives’
          English and Key kept their young kids away from the cameras , as do most other politicians

          Reply
          • David

             /  29th May 2019

            They get to see the baby at parliament all the time, Gayford brings Neve to work and there is an area set aside for them. Bring the journo through for a cuddle, journo gets to boast about access knowing the rest of the country hasnt even seen the child.
            Its a very clever way of keeping the largely female press gallery less critical. Ardern is just playing to human nature, smart woman dumb journalists.

            Reply
    • Duker

       /  29th May 2019

      “Their technical journo says it wasn’t hacked in the business section:”
      Saarinen is a tech journo not a security specialist he graduated from Lund University in English language and Literature
      Yet another story , quoting REAL experts says this
      “The tech team at Darkscope believes a more likely scenario was that someone used a so-called “spider crawler” to find hidden content on the Treasury website – which would obviously be distinct accessing a secure database of information.”
      https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12235367

      Its still using a ‘hacking tool’

      Reply
      • Trevors_elbow

         /  29th May 2019

        Oh bollocks. If it was picked off a public page it was public info.
        Spiders crawl URLs all time looking for new content to index and cache…just a standard tool

        Doubt that’s how National got the info….look forward to Bridges announcing where it came from…. should be a hoot

        Reply
  8. Reply
    • Peters should explain why a transport company owner whose licence has been revoked by NZTA is now being nominated as a director of the same agency by NZF. Corruption thy name is Winston? Never mind, Jacinda will take a stand and do what’s right.

      Reply
  9. Gezza

     /  29th May 2019

    1news at 6 tonight said Bridges plans to reveal how the information was obtained tomorrow, Budget Day, to embarrass the government.

    Reply
    • David

       /  29th May 2019

      Bridges appears to be playing a blinder.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  29th May 2019

        Remains to be seen what he does actually say.

        Reply
      • Blazer

         /  29th May 2019

        yes he should change his name to..Batman.

        Reply
      • Blazer

         /  29th May 2019

        ‘Bridges said he had not sought legal advice on the issue, as he said he wouldn’t need it, and declined to say if he would resign if it turn out the information was obtained unlawfully.’

        Reply
  1. Treasury refer claimed hacking to police following budget leak — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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