Surf champ accused of hacking

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Charged: Adam John Bennett. Picture: Lee Griffith/The West Australian
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An alleged Anonymous hacker accused of targeting the Indonesian Government and personal details of thousands of AAPT customers is a surf lifesaver and cancer support fundraiser living in a beachside property in Scarborough.

Adam John Bennett has appeared in Perth Magistrate's Court charged with hacking into the database of telecommunications company AAPT and obtaining sensitive information - including credit card and Medicare details, addresses and phone numbers.

As of this week, the 40-year-old was a fundraising manager for Cancer Support WA. He previously held a position as a company director with Paynes Find Gold Limited. In his spare time, Mr Bennett is an experienced surf lifesaver, prominent within the Scarboro Surf Life Saving Club, and a participant in national lifesaving championships.

Cancer Support WA was yesterday doing its own inquiries into the allegations.

"We are aware that a staff member, Adam Bennett, was charged on Thursday and that he is assisting with a Federal police investigation," it told The Weekend West. "We take the matter very seriously and are investigating internally."

Federal authorities will allege Mr Bennett, operating under the online pseudonym of "Lorax", hacked AAPT servers in 2012 and obtained more than 200,000 names and 100,000 email addresses.

He is also accused of compromising Indonesian Government web servers.

A teenage accomplice in NSW is accused of hacking into data belonging to the ACT Government and the Netspeed ISP based in Canberra.

After Government and Australian Communications and Media Authority investigations were launched into the security breaches, law enforcement agencies began a hunt for the two hackers associated with Anonymous.

In the past few days, the Scarborough property was raided and several hard drives were seized, which will take police months to analyse.

Mr Bennett did little to hide his social media profile, with his personal Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook pages open for all to see. The online Anonymous persona Lorax is also one of the most open on the internet, hosting regular online radio broadcasts.

Part of Mr Bennett's bail conditions imposed by a Perth magistrate was that he not use the internet for any other purposes than for banking, employment and legal advice.

Lorax's last post on a Facebook page, entered last week, read: "Goodbye and thanks for all the fish!"

After the arrests, Tim Morris - the AFP's national manager high tech crime operations - said online attacks could have a big impact on government and business services.

"Hacking activities can affect everyone from small businesses right up to large government organisations," Assistant Commissioner Morris said.

"These acts can cause serious disruption to government and business networks, which in turn can be catastrophic for people who rely on these networks to run their small business or administer their entitlements or personal finances.

"The impairment or disruption of communications to or from computer networks is a criminal act, not harmless fun."

Mr Bennett is due to appear in court next month.

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