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According to a leaked intelligence report, our government believes that China was behind February’s parliamentary hack.

 

 

According to Reuters, the parliamentary hack back in February was authored by China. In fact, the Australian Signals Directorate (our cyber intelligence agency) has tabled a report, with five anonymous voices telling Reuters who they thought responsible.

As Reuters wrote, “…the report, which also included input from the Department of Foreign Affairs, recommended keeping the findings secret in order to avoid disrupting trade relations with Beijing, two of the people said. The Australian government has not disclosed who it believes was behind the attack or any details of the report.”

The ASD report established that the hackers had also accessed the networks of the Liberal Party, the Nationals, and the ALP. Per Reuters, “Australian intelligence also determined that the country’s political parties were a target of Beijing spying, they added, without specifying any other incidents. The people declined to specify how the attackers breached network security and said it was unclear when the attack had begun or how long the hackers had access to the networks.  The attackers used sophisticated techniques to try to conceal their access and their identity, one of the people said, without providing details.”

The office of the Prime Minister has declined to comment, with the ASD following suit. China’s Foreign Ministry has denied any knowledge of the attack.

“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 internet attacks…China hopes that Australia can meet China halfway, and do more to benefit mutual trust and cooperation between the two countries,” the Ministry said in a statement sent to Reuters.

In February, the hack was reported as probably Chinese, as Fairfax surmising that “the attack is understood to carry the digital fingerprints of China, though authorities are concerned that another state could be replicating the hallmarks of Chinese intelligence to deflect blame towards them…only four nations are thought to be capable of such a high-level attack: China, Russia, Israel and the United States.”

At the time, Scott Morrison said that it was all copasetic, stating: “let me be clear, there is no evidence of electoral interference”.