The Australian Parliament today disclosed a cyberattack targeting its network from Thursday night into Friday morning. So far, evidence does not indicate any information was taken.
This network contains lawmakers’ email archives, which officials indicate may have been a target given that Australia’s national elections will likely take place in May. Parliament’s network is where hackers could find compromising emails or potential disagreements among members.
Given the circumstances, experts believe a nation-state is to blame. After all, “it’s hard to make money from breaching a parliamentary system,” said Fergus Hanson, head of the International Cyber Policy Center at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, to The New York Times.
Experts are reluctant to attribute the attack. China seems a top suspect given its previous attempts to target Australian politics; last year, security analysts said tools commonly used by Chinese actors were used to attack its Defense Department and National University. Officials have also said Iranian, North Korean, or Russian actors could be responsible for the incident.
Parliament leaders Tony Smith and Scott Ryan issued a joint statement reporting the attack. The two said there is no sign this incident was meant to influence or disrupt electoral or political processes. Further, they said, all users have been required to change their passwords.
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