Published: Sun, February 10, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Unspecified "security incident'': Australian parliament computer network breached"


The cyberbreach follows revelations that parliamentarians in Britain were targeted by an attempt to hack into their email and phone contact lists earlier this week.

"I'm satisfied from what I've heard initially that our security agencies and the president [of the Senate] and the Speaker [of the House] have moved in the right way to make sure that our parliamentary networks are secure", he said.

"The Department of Parliamentary Services and relevant agencies are working jointly to take the necessary steps to investigate the incident, while our immediate focus has been on security of the network and protecting data and users".

The Australian Federal Parliament's computer network has been hacked.

However a spokesperson from the Australian Signals Directorate would not be drawn on whether there had been any involvement by a foreign actor.

"If you look at what goes on in Parliament House, you've got politicians, you've got staffers, you've got government departments that are moving in and out of the organisation and a lot of that is through electronic means", Phair, an adjunct professor, was quoted as saying by the news outlet.

In December previous year, in conjunction with the indictments of two men alleged to be Chinese government hackers by the US Justice Department and similar claims from United Kingdom officials, Alastair MacGibbon, the head of the Australian Cyber Security Centre, warned tens of thousands of Australian companies may have been compromised in the so-called Cloudhopper campaign against global IT service providers like HPE and IBM.

Security agencies are evaluating whether or not China is responsible. Notably, Australia has banned China's Huawei and ZTE, and fell out with Moscow over the investigation into Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, which was shot down by a Russian anti-aircraft missile in July 2014.

The same was not true in mid-2017, however, when an attacker appeared to have breached 90 email accounts used by British Members of Parliament, as well as staff and civil servants.

Holyrood says the attack was not successful (see: Scottish Parliament Repels Brute-Force Email Hackers). In response, IT teams disabled remote access to the accounts.

"Similarly, we have no evidence that this is an attempt to influence the outcome of parliamentary processes or to disrupt or influence electoral or political processes".

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