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Parliament of Australia reports cyber incident

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The parliament of Australia recently stated that they’ve noticed an unknown intruder apparently tried to hack their computer systems. According to the official statement, hackers tried to break into the parliament’s computer network that includes lawmakers’ email archives. However, the parliament officials clarified that there were no indications of data theft so far.

They also stated that they’re updating all the passwords of its network systems and started an investigation. It’s believed that a foreign government was behind the attack, possibly China, ABC.net reported.

“Following a security incident on the parliamentary computing network, a number of measures have been implemented to protect the network and its users,” Parliament’s presiding officers, Tony Smith and Scott Ryan said in a joint statement. “All users have been required to change their passwords. This has occurred overnight and this morning.”

“There is no evidence that any data has been accessed or taken at this time, however this will remain subject to ongoing investigation,” the statement added.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison made clear that no Federal Government departments had been targeted in the attack. “I don’t propose to go into any sort of detailed commentary on the source or nature of this. Once further information is available then we will be in a position to provide further detail,” Scott Morrison added.

The Australian government faced a number of criticisms on its cybersecurity landscape in recent years. An inspection by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) exposed the failure of government organizations to implement cybersecurity requirements. The ANAO’s fourth report on the cyber resilience of government departments and agencies states that except the Treasury Department both the National Archives and Geoscience Australia failed to implement the top four mandatory cybersecurity strategies instructed by the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD).

In order to promote cybersecurity systems across government, business, and academia, the Australian government launched a new Joint Cyber Security Center (JCSC) in Adelaide, South Australia. The facility is a part of the government’s $47 million JCSC program that bridges the gap between several public and private companies in sectors such as defense, finance, transport, energy, health, mining, and education.

The new facility launched by the Minister for Defense Christopher Pyne is aimed to be a central hub for the cybersecurity information, advice, and assistance for Australians. The Center joins the list of other JCSC Centers located in Brisbane, Perth, Canberra, Melbourne, and Sydney.

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