The Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, has revealed that computer networks of political parties and parliament were infiltrated by malicious software recently.
Just months before the Australian nation heads into an election, the PM said that the intrusion was caused by a sophisticated “state actor” and explained that no electoral interference had taken place as a result.
Initially it was believed that the hack had only been exacted on parliament servers, but subsequent investigations found that political parties also fell victim.
“During the course of this work, we also became aware that the networks of some political parties – Liberal, Labor and Nationals – have also been affected,” Mr Morrison said.
The prime minister gave no comment on whether or not a foreign government had been involved, stating only that additional detail could not be provided regarding “operational matters.”
While IT systems were compromised, the Australian Cyber Security Centre does not yet know if information was actually stolen through the malicious activity.
A “number of measures to ensure the integrity of [the] electoral system” in Australia have now been implemented, Mr Morrison said, before adding that security has been enhanced to help the nation’s political parties.
Bill Shorten, the Labor leader, underlined his “grave concern” over the attack in light of similar activity taking place against other governments around the world.
“We cannot be complacent and, as this most recent activity reported by the prime minister indicates, we are not exempt or immune.”
China has often come under the spotlight for cyber-attacks against Australia in the past, such as in 2015 and 2016 when major hacks targeted government weather and statistics services.
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