The Australia government suffered a cyberattack that it suspects is the work of a “sophisticated state actor,” according to the country’s prime minister.
PM Scott Morrison said today the computer network of the country’s parliament, and those belonging to Liberal, Labor and Nationals parties, were targeted by an attack that took place a few weeks ago, The Sydney Morning Herald reports. Australia is months away from federal elections, which will take place in May.
Morrison said 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,” he said, adding that security services “acted decisively to confront it.”
There is apparently no indication that data was accessed following the attack.
Where exactly it originated from remains unclear.
Sources told SMH that the sophistication of the attack was “unprecedented,” but nobody in the government is naming suspects. Reportedly, the incident sports “the digital fingerprints of China,” but there remains the possibility that the attack was framed to look like it originated from China.
The incident recalls the hacking of the Democrat Party around the U.S. presidential election in 2016. The attackers, who are widely suspected to be linked to the Russian government, accessed 19,252 emails and 8,034 attachments from DNC email accounts, said John Podesta, who was the campaign chairman for Hillary Clinton.
Australia itself has a history of parliamentary hacks. The national government was attacked in 2015 by a “foreign government” (later named as China) that reportedly used computers at the Bureau of Meteorology as its entry point. The incident is said to have given China the records of 14 million federal employees.