It was not long ago that hackers attempted to hack Australia’s parliament.
The country’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that a “malicious intrusion” on the computer networks of the main political parties and parliament of the country was used for the attempt. He said that a “sophisticated state actor” had carried out the cyber-attack which came to light two weeks ago.
The prime minister however added that there was “no evidence of any electoral interference”. An election is set to be held in the country in the next few months.
Earlier, it was believed that only the parliament’s servers were targeted in the attack but investigators found otherwise.
“During the course of this work, we also became aware that the networks of some political parties – Liberal, Labor and Nationals – have also been affected,” Mr Morrison told the House of Representatives on Monday.
Amis speculations about which foreign country or state power was behind the attach, the Australian prime minister chose to say nothing but added that no more additional details of the case would be provided by him because they were “operational matters”.
In recent years, there have been a number of cyber-attacks on various department and bodies of the Australian government and the local media has pointed fingers to countries such as China for the attacks.
China topped the list of suspects for the hacking for Fergus Hanson, cyber security expert at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, while now ruling out Russia also being a possible responsible party to for the attacks.
The accusations were “groundless” and “made up out of thin air with ulterior motives”, said Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang while also urging the media to “stop the words and actions” that can harm “China’s bilateral relations with relevant countries”.
According to the Australian Cyber Security Centre, even though hackers had managed to gain access to party systems, whether there has been any loss or stealing of information is not yet clear.
“We have put in place a number of measures to ensure the integrity of our electoral system,” said Morrison, who leads the Liberal-National coalition. Australia’s electoral bodies have been informed about the breach by security officials, he added. Support to all political parties would be provided, he added.
The cyber-attack was “of grave concern” following instances of “malicious activity” in other nations, said Labor leader Bill Shorten. “We cannot be complacent and, as this most recent activity reported by the prime minister indicates, we are not exempt or immune,” he said.
This not the first time that Australian government departments and other government organizations have been targeted by hackers. Government’s weather and statistics agencies were the target of high-profile cyber attacks in 2015 and in 2016. Email systems of senior Australian ministers were also hacked in 2011.
There was “no evidence” that information had been accessed or stolen, said officials following the attack on the parliament’s computer network. But as a precaution, the passwords of politicians have been reset.
(Adapted from BBC.com)