Australian parliament network breached in cyberattack

Security breach strikes parliament's IT network - Security

'Sophisticated' cybersecurity breach at Parliament House

Australia's parliament had to reset all the passwords on its computer network after an unknown attacker tried to hack into the system, an official statement said on Friday.

"Following a security incident on the parliamentary computing network, a number of measures have been implemented to protect the network and its users", parliamentary authorities said in a statement.

Parliament's network includes legislators' email archives, The New York Times reported. "We are not in a position to provide further information publicly at this stage".

In December a year ago, in conjunction with the indictments of two men alleged to be Chinese government hackers by the US Justice Department and similar claims from United Kingdom officials, Alastair MacGibbon, the head of the Australian Cyber Security Centre, warned tens of thousands of Australian companies may have been compromised in the so-called Cloudhopper campaign against global IT service providers like HPE and IBM.

"My primary concern is making sure we get that offender out and we keep the offender out", he said.

According to ABC, local investigators are looking into China's possible involvement.

Australian cyber security experts are investigating a cyber-attack on parliament's computer systems that is speculated to be orchestrated by a foreign government.

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Australia's ties with Russia, meanwhile, soured after the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 in 2014, brought down by a Russian surface-to-air missile.

In one of Australia's most high-profile cyber attacks, all lawmakers were told to reset passwords as a precaution.

In late 2017, the Scottish Parliament, known as Holyrood, alerted 129 Members of the Scottish Parliament, or MSPs, as well as staff, that their email accounts were being targeted in unauthorized login attempts.

The cyber breach comes amid revelations MPs in the United Kingdom were targeted by an attack to hack into their email and phone contact lists earlier this week. An investigation by Parliament blamed users' poor password choices for the breaches (see: Parliament's Email Practices Probed by Privacy Watchdog).

In 2011, computers used by Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and two senior ministers were hacked and Chinese intelligence agencies were suspected.

They were also quick to distance the incident from any "attempt to influence to outcome of parliamentary processes or to disrupt or influence electoral or political processes".

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