Australia’s parliament hit by cyber-hack attempt

Australia’s parliament had to change and reset all of its passwords on its computer network after an unknown hacker tried to infiltrate and bypass its systems, according to a Reuter’s report.

As stated in the report, both Tony Smith, the speaker of the lower House of Representatives, and Scott Ryan, president of the upper house Senate, said there’s no evidence that any data had been accessed or stolen.

“No evidence” of data being stolen

“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,” they said in a statement.

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

Though Australian officials have not blamed any country for the incident, James Der Derian, the director of the Centre for International Security Studies at the University of Sydney, said that state-backed hackers could be behind the attack.

State-backed hackers

“To undertake such an attack, you need some big resources, so a state actor is most likely,” said James.

“You have to look and see who has a grievance against Australia, and the most obvious suspects would be China and Russia.”

Tensions between Australia, China, and Russia

Relations with China have been deteriorating since 2017 after Canberra accused China of spying and interfering in Australia’s domestic affairs. Both countries have attempted to repair their relationship, but Australia continues to be wary of China.

The data breach comes after Australia revoked the residence visa of a prominent Chinese businessman just a few months after banning telecom giant Huawei from building the country’s 5G network.

Relations with Russia also soured after Australia accused Russia of shooting down Malaysian jet MH17 in 2014, which was allegedly brought down by a Russian surface-to-air missile.

Russia said it had nothing to do with the MH17 disaster in Ukraine, despite photographic evidence presented by prosecutors.

Ilia Kolochenko, CEO of High-Bridge-Tech, commented on the attempted breach, by saying: “Attribution of such attack can be very expensive and time-consuming, if feasible. The attackers usually have plenty of resources and skills to destroy any technical evidence in an irrecoverable manner.

“Moreover, even if some elements will nonetheless permit to charge with the attack one of the alleged suspects, the legal avenues for a viable remedy will very limited and economically futile.

“Perhaps, the budget allocated for the forensics is better spent on network hardening and enhancement of continuous security monitoring to prevent such incidents in the future.”


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