Australia's Parliament network hacked

Tourists walk around the forecourt of Australia's Parliament House in Canberra, on Oct 16, 2017.
Tourists walk around the forecourt of Australia's Parliament House in Canberra, on Oct 16, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

SYDNEY • Australia's Parliament has revealed that its computer network was compromised by an unspecified "security incident" and said an investigation was under way.

"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 yesterday.

Officials declined to comment on the nature of the cyber-security breach, but said there was no evidence that data had been accessed.

"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.

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

All parliamentary passwords were reset as a precaution.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he had been briefed on the matter, adding: "There is no suggestion that government departments or agencies have been the target of any such incursion."

The Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) confirmed it was working with Parliament in response to the attack, a move that indicates sophisticated actors may be involved.

National broadcaster ABC reported that intelligence agencies were looking into whether foreign governments could be behind the attack, including China.

"ASD and its Australian Cyber Security Centre will continue to work with (Parliament) to understand the full extent of this network compromise," an ASD spokesman told Agence France-Presse.

"Meanwhile, the necessary steps are being taken to mitigate the compromise and prevent any harm."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 09, 2019, with the headline 'Australia's Parliament network hacked'. Print Edition | Subscribe