Tensions have worsened between Australia & China throughout the Coronavirus crisis.
This attack has impacted on political parties, official organisations & agencies, education, health, & also key industries & critical infrastructure.
Australian PM Scott Morrison revealed Thur. that a “state-based cyber-actor” was responsible for the attacks, but added that he would not name the country.
“What I can confirm, with confidence, based on the advice, the technical advice that we have received, is that this is the action of a state-based actor with significant capabilities,” he stated.
He also added: “We know it is a sophisticated state-based cyber-actor because of the scale & nature of the targeting & the trade craft used.
“There aren’t too many state-based actors who have those capabilities.”
3 sources near to the Australian Govt. & who have been briefed on this attack commented that Australia did believe China to have been the culprit.
“There is a high degree of confidence that China is behind the attacks,” a govt. source shared with the Reuters News Agency, on strict condition of anonymity.
Peter Jennings, who is Executive Director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, revealed to ‘The Australian’ newspaper that it was “very clear to him” that China was definitely the source of these pernicious cyberattacks.
Relations between Australia & China have declined during the pandemic, with the Beijing administration imposing tough sanctions on Australian exports & stopping some of its own imports of beef.
Tensions have increased since Mr Morrison asked for an international investigation into the origins of the pandemic, with Beijing telling tourists & students to stay away from Australia, citing racism fears.
China’s embassy in Canberra did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Cyber security experts have suggested that only China, Russia, Iran & North Korea would have the capability to launch such a widespread hacking operation.
Mr Morrison commented that he had spoken about the attack with Downing Street overnight.
“I spoke to Boris Johnson last night about a range of matters, including this one & there are a number of engagements with our allies overnight,” he outlined.
Mr Morrison added that there had been no “large-scale personal data breaches” of private information, but the attacks had been increasing in frequency “over many months”.
Fear & Division
On Tues., Marise Payne, Australia’s Foreign Minister, hit back at China for spreading disinformation during the pandemic that “contributes to a climate of fear & division”, while warning Canberra would be unafraid to be more confident on the world stage.
The Reuters News Agency has reported previously that Australian intelligence agencies suspected China of carrying out a hack of Australia’s top political parties & parliament in 2019. Canberra has so far refused to comment.
The Australian National University was also struck by a hacking operation that targeted student & staff details in 2019.