Australian Intelligence Community Says China Behind Recent Parliamentary Attacks

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A report has surfaced concluding that China was behind May’s cyber attack that targeted the Australian parliament, as well as the three of the largest political parties in the country, just before the general election took place.


The report comes courtesy of Reuters, citing five sources with “direct knowledge of the matter,” according to the report.


The Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) has said that China’s Ministry of State Security “was responsible for the attack, the five people with direct knowledge of the findings of the investigation” told reporters.


The findings of the report were kept secret, in an attempt to avoid disrupting trade relations with China, according to two of the sources. Authorities said there was “a very real prospect of damaging the economy,” if the revelations were to go public. The Morrison government is yet to confirm the actor behind the attack, nor any details of the investigation or subsequent report.



“The cyberattack launched by a third-party was able to access extremely sensitive documents like policy papers on tax and foreign policy, private email exchanges between lawmakers and their staff.”



According to Reuters, “when the hack was discovered, Australian lawmakers and their staff were told by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate to urgently change their passwords, according to a parliamentary statement at the time.”

“The ASD investigation quickly established that the hackers had also accessed the networks of the ruling Liberal party, its coalition partner the rural-based Nationals, and the opposition Labor party, two of the sources said.”


The sources interviewed also mentioned that the cyberattack launched by a third-party was able to access extremely sensitive documents like policy papers on tax and foreign policy, private email exchanges between lawmakers and their staff.



“When the hack was discovered, Australian lawmakers and their staff were told by the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate to urgently change their passwords.”



China’s foreign ministry has released a statement deflecting blame, and outlining that the report is “just creating rumours and smearing others.”


“When investigating and determining the nature of online incidents, there must be full proof of the facts, otherwise it’s just creating rumours and smearing others, pinning labels on people indiscriminately. We would like to stress that China is also a victim of the internet attacks,” the ministry added in the statement.


Despite their statement and subsequent denial of the allegations, Australian investigators found that the code and techniques employed by the third-party hackers are identical to those used by Chinese hackers in the past, according to two sources cited by Reuters.


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