In Lead-up to Elections, Australia Confirms Nation-State Attack on Infrastructure, Political Parties
On February 8, the Australian
government announced its computer network was hit by a major cyberattack.
Following investigations by the country’s cyber experts, Australian Prime
Minister Scott Morrison announced on Monday that the government fell victim to
a nation-state cyberattack, writes
Duncan Lewis, the head of the
Australian Security Intelligence Organization, offered no details about the impact
of the attack or what was compromised. As a preventative measure, passwords
have been reset.
“The electoral machinery which we
have in this country, that’s the Australian Electoral Commission and the
various state electoral commissions that work with the federal system — there
is no evidence that they have been compromised,” Lewis said in front of Senate
Considering the country will soon
hold state and federal elections, the attackers may have attempted to steal
information, disrupt parliamentary activity or manipulate the election outcome.
Morrison, however, denied electoral interference.
“Our cyber experts believe that a
sophisticated state actor is responsible for this malicious activity,” Morrison
said. “Let me be clear, though — there is no evidence of any electoral
interference. We have put in place a number of measures to ensure the integrity
of our electoral system.”
His claim is backed by a joint
statement from presiding officers Scott Ryan and Tony Smith who said “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.”
The malicious activity also
targeted the Liberal Party, the Nationals and the Labor Party. Morrison did not
name the state actor responsible for the attack, but China is one of the
countries investigated, according to agencies looking into the malicious
to another story by The Guardian.
This is not the first time Australia’s
government or political parties have been targeted by cyberattacks, as similar
incidents occurred in 2011, when the email network was hacked. And, the
Australian Cyber Security Agency has blamed a foreign power for a 2015
hack of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology network., Although China was named as one of the possible nations
behind the attacks, there’s no strong evidence to support these accusations.