The Australian government suffered a cyber attack that it suspects was the work of a “sophisticated state actor” according to the country’s Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said today that the country’s parliament computer network, and those belonging to the Liberal, Labor and National parties, were attacked in an attack that took place a few weeks ago, The Sydney Morning Herald reports. Australia is months away from federal elections that will take place in May.
Morrison said “there is no evidence of any electoral interference.”
“We have implemented a series of measures to guarantee the integrity of our electoral system,” he said, adding that the security services “acted decisively to confront it.”
There is apparently no indication that the data was accessed after the attack.
Where exactly it originated is unclear.
Sources told SMH that the sophistication of the attack was “unprecedented,” but no one in the government is naming suspects. The incident reportedly shows “China’s fingerprints”, but there is still a possibility that the attack has been framed to make it appear that it originated in China.
The incident is reminiscent of the Democratic Party hacking around the 2016 US presidential election. The attackers, suspected of being linked to the Russian government, agreed to have received 19,252 emails and 8,034 account attachments. DNC email John Podesta, who was Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman.
Australia itself has a history of parliamentary hacks. The national government was attacked in 2015 by a “foreign government” (later called China) that reportedly used the Meteorology Bureau computers as an entry point. The incident is said to have given China the records of 14 million federal employees.