The investigation began in January when Sydney University reported that its website had been hacked and defaced. Police said Wednesday that there was no evidence that any personal information had been stolen from any of the businesses hacked.
"We'll allege in court today that the man could have potentially caused considerable damage to Australia's national infrastructure by attacking the National Broadband Network," Edwards told reporters.
The Sydney-based wholesale Internet provider, Platform Networks, is one of 13 contracted by the government-owned company NBN Co., which is rolling out one of the world's fastest fiber-optic broadband networks at a cost of 36 billion Australian dollars ($39 billion).
The alleged hacker has been charged over the NBN hacking with one count of unauthorized modification of data to cause impairment. He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
Police have also charged him with another 48 counts of unauthorized access of restricted data. Each count is punishable by two years in prison.
Police say more charges are likely and that more hackers could be arrested.
The suspect used the online moniker "Evil" and his information technology skills were self-taught, Edwards said.
"We'll allege that he's motivated by ego in his illegal hacking and proving his skills after complaining that he could not get work in the IT industry," he said.
The case's chief investigator, police Supt. Brad Marden, said there was no evidence that any personal information had been stolen from any of the businesses hacked.
"The main activities that have occurred on those systems _ and again because he is motivated by ego _ is to deface and damage the systems rather than extract information," Marden told reporters.
NBN Co. assured customers in a statement that its network had not been affected by the hacking.
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