‘Honeypot of juicy political gossip hoovered up’ in Australia cyber attack | World News
A “sophisticated state actor” has carried out a cyber attack on the Australian parliament’s computing network – just a month before an election.
The country’s prime minister, Scott Morrison, described the attack as a “malicious intrusion” which also affected the network used by major political parties.
Although there is no evidence that data was accessed as a result of the breach, politicians were being urged to change their passwords.
Mr Morrison said the cyber attack was probably carried out by a foreign government, but he stopped short of naming any suspects.
Alastair MacGibbon, the head of the Australian Cyber Security Centre, told reporters: “Our political institutions represent high-value targets.
“We will continue to work with our friends and colleagues, both here and overseas, to work out who is behind it and hopefully their intent.”
Analysts have said China, Russia and Iran were the most likely culprits.
Fergus Hanson, from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute think tank, said: “When you consider motivation, you would have to say that China is the leading suspect, while you wouldn’t rule out Russia either.
“It is the honeypot of juicy political gossip that has been hoovered up. Emails showing everything from the dirty laundry of internal fights through to who supported a policy could be on display.”
Ties with China have deteriorated since 2017 after Canberra accused Beijing of meddling in its affairs – and in 2011, China was reportedly suspected of accessing the email system used by MPs and parliamentary staff in Australia.
Election interference has been high on the international agenda since the 2016 presidential election in the US.