Australian security agencies are reportedly probing the role of China-sponsored cyber criminals behind last week’s security breach of Parliament’s computing network.
According to a report in ABC News on Sunday, it took less than an hour after the the first report of the cyber attack for suspicion to fall on China.
“Analysts say it will take time to forensically identify exactly where the attack originated, even though it bears the hallmarks of a state-sponsored attack,” said the report.
Australia’s Parliament had to reset all the passwords on its computer network after an unknown attacker tried to hack into the system last week.
Local media said a foreign government could be behind the hack, but a Parliament statement said that “relevant agencies” were investigating it.
In 2015, Beijing was blamed for attacking Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology.
“Early reports suggest nothing was accessed or stolen from parliament’s servers, but hackers could have been targeting the emails of Australia’s MPs, their staffers and advisors,” the ABC News report said.
The parliamentary network is used by all MPs and their staff, including to store databases and emails.
In December, the Australian government called on China to shut down a global plot by an intelligence service-backed hacking group to steal intellectual property from companies in the US.
Speaking to ABC radio, the head of Australian Cyber Security Centre, Alastair MacGibbon, said it was an audacious global campaign run by a group that worked on behalf of the Ministry of State Security for the Chinese government.