Australia under cyber attack, says PM

Scott Morrison
Australian prime minister Scott Morrison (Image: The Liberal Party/Facebook)

International effort underway to identify ‘sophisticated state actor’ responsible

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19 June 2020 | 0

“Australian organisations are currently being targeted by a sophisticated, state-based cyberattack,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Australian television.

“We know it is a sophisticated, state-based cyber actor because of the scale and nature of the targeting and the tradecraft used.”

The prime minister went on to say that the “activity is targeting Australian organisations across a range of sectors, including all levels of government, industry, political organisations, education, health, essential service providers and operators of other critical infrastructure.”

 

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In June of 2019, the Australian government attributed an attack on its national parliament to China.

While China has not been named in the current actions, there is much speculation the nation is behind the attacks.

It is being reported that there has not been a single action prompting the prime minister’s address, but rather a gradual building of activities that have been brought to the government’s attention by security services, according to News.com.au.

Morrison is reported to have notified state leaders of the situation, to warn them of further action and to be prepared.

Prime Minister Morrison was careful in not naming any state, saying:

“The Australian Government is not making any public attribution about these matters,” Morrison said in a statement.

“[However] we are very confident that this is the actions of a state-based actor. We have not gone any further than that. I can’t control what speculation others might engage in on this issue or, frankly, any other. I have simply laid out the facts as we know them and as we have disclosed today.

“As I just said, the threshold for attribution on these issues is high.”

China has officially denied any involvement.

“China is a staunch upholder of cyberspace security, and we have been the biggest victim of cyber attacks,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters. “We have been firmly opposing and combating all forms of cyberattacks. Our position is clear and consistent.”

Geng described attribution to China of the Australian attacks as “wholly baseless and nonsense”.

It was confirmed by the the Australian prime minister that the actions were considered so serious as to warrant the mobilisation of Australia’s Five Eyes intelligence alliance, which includes the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand.

TechCentral Reporters

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