Cause (transcript from Monday’s Four Corners episode dealing with cyber crime):

NEIL GAUGHAN (national manager hi-tech operations for AFP): G’day gents how we going?

AFP OFFICER: Morning Sir, how you going.

NEIL GAUGHAN: Good thanks.

AFP OFFICER: What we’re gonna do is we’re just gonna make a telephone call and we’re going to post a message on this forum just letting these people now who are partaking that law enforcement has been watching them and that action will be taken.

NEIL GAUGHAN: Excellent, great let’s go.

ANDREW FOWLER (ABC reporter): In the case of root-you.org, the Federal Police decided the best result was to effectively blow up the site by posting a notice that it was under law enforcement control.

TIM DAVIS, FEDERAL AGENT: Mate are you right to post that message on the forum.

MAN (on phone): Yep.

TIM DAVIS, FEDERAL AGENT: Well if you can do that now that’d be great.

Effect (as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald):

An Australian Federal Police boast, on the ABC’s Four Corners program, about officers breaking up an underground hacker forum, has backfired after hackers broke into a federal police computer system.

Security consultants say police appear to have been using the computer as a honeypot to collect information on members of the forum but the scheme came undone after the officers forgot to set a password.

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW