Australian parliamentary network hacked, no sign data stolen

Evarado Alatorre
Febrero 9, 2019

"Our immediate focus has been on securing the network and protecting data and users".

House of representatives speaker Tony Smith and senate president Scott Ryan jointly released a statement confirming the attack and that the incident is under investigation.

"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 statement said. The agency's Director-General, Mike Burgess, was in Parliament on Friday morning, as was Alastair MacGibbon, head of the Australian Cyber Security Centre.

One source said the response to the attack had been swift but the hackers were "sophisticated this time around".

The Australian Signals Directorate has also confirmed it's working with the Department of Parliamentary Services to ensure the network and its users are protected.

"The necessary steps are being taken to mitigate the compromise and minimise any harm", ASD said in a statement.

In a statement emailed to The Register, the Australian Signals Directorate, an intelligence collection and detection agency similar to the National Security Agency in the USA, confirmed it is working with the Department of Parliamentary Services to secure the government's network but offered no indication about the suspected source of the attack.

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State-backed hackers were likely to be responsible, one academic said.

"You would be having access to swathes of correspondence between politicians, staffers and people who run Parliament House - lots of juicy information there".

"If I was a nation state, or dare I say any hacker looking for state secrets, this is the crown jewels".

"Accurate attribution of a cyber incident takes time and investigations are being undertaken in conjunction with the relevant security agencies".

The attack does not affect the computer systems of government ministers and their staff, however it does affect government backbenchers, the Opposition and crossbenchers.

Mr Shorten described the breach as a "wake up call", saying while Parliament had the resources to respond to a cyber attack, many small and medium-sized businesses did not.

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