The computer network of the Australian parliament was attempted to be hacked which is being investigated by security authorities of the country.
While there was “no evidence” that hackers have been able to access or steal any information, said the lawmakers, but their passwords are being changed as a precautionary measure. The attempt to hack into the system is believed to have likely originated in a foreign land, suggested Australian cyber-security experts.
He did not want to day anything in depth on “the source or nature of this”, said Australian PM Scott Morrison. He also added that security agencies have as of yet found “no suggestion” that the hackers had targeted government agencies or departments. The server network of the Australian parliament is used for storing emails, among other things, by MPs and their staff.
In an earlier statement, a number of senior lawmakers of the country said that security agencies had not found evidence that the aim of the attempted hacking was to “disrupt or influence electoral or political processes”.
The incident was however described as a “wake-up call” by opposition leader Bill Shorten. Some other lawmakers have also expressed the same sentiment.
In recent year, there has been a number of attempted cyber attacks on the Australian government. The local media have pointed the finger towards countries such as China for some of the incidents.
“It looks like another nation state is behind this attack as well,” said Fergus Hanson of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a Canberra-based think tank. “You would be having access to swathes of correspondence between politicians, staffers and people who run Parliament House – lots of juicy information there.”
Earlier in 2017, there was a breach in the Australia’s defence programmes and sensitive information about it was stolen in an “extensive” cyber hack. According to Australian security agencies, the hack on a government contractor resulted in hackers gaining access to about 30GB of data which included some data on new fighter planes and navy vessels. The government had informed then that through the data was not classified, they were indeed sensitive to the security of the country.
That breach started in July of 2016 but no alert was sounded to the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) until November. “It could be one of a number of different actors,” Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne told the Australian Broadcasting Corp after the incident. “It could be a state actor, [or] a non-state actor. It could be someone who was working for another company.”
In another incident a year earlier, the computers of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology was also hacked reportedly by foreign spies, according to an official report at that time. the attack actually had taken place in 2015. At that point, the local media in Australia had pointed the finger at hackers based in China. Australian Bureau of Meteorology is the owner of one of the largest supercomputers in Australia. .
(Adapted form BBC.com)