Australia facing state-based cyber attack targeting government, industry

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Friday announced the country is facing a malicious cyber attack from a "state-based" actor targeting government departments and other businesses. Photo by Lukas Coch/EPA-EFE

June 19 (UPI) — Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Friday that the country’s government and industry are being targeted by a cyber attack.

Morrison said there did not immediately appear to be any “large-scale” breaches of people’s personal information but said he made the announcement to”raise awareness of this important issue.”

“This activity is targeting Australian organizations across a range of sectors, including all levels of government, industry, political organizations, education, health, essential service providers and operators of other critical infrastructure,” he said.

He added the government knows it is a “sophisticated state-based cyber actor” citing the scale and nature of the targeting.

“What I can confirm, with confidence, based on the technical advice that we have received, is that this is the action of a state-based actor with significant capabilities,” Morrison said when asked if China was behind the attack. “There aren’t too many state-based actors who have those capabilities.”

He added it was difficult to pinpoint what the motives of the hackers might be.

“What is of interest to us is that it is occurring and what we are focused on is the practices that they’re employing,” said Morrison.


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