‘State actor’ hacks networks of major political parties

Share Canberra's trusted news:
Parliament House
Parliament House. Photo: Martin Ollman

“A SOPHISTICATED state actor” has hacked the networks of the major political parties, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has told Federal Parliament.

Recently the Parliament House network was disrupted, and the intrusion into the parties’ networks was discovered when this was being dealt with.

Michelle Grattan

While the government has not identified the “state actor”, the Chinese are being blamed.

Morrison gave the reassurance that “there is no evidence of any electoral interference. We have put in place a number of measures to ensure the integrity of our electoral system”.

In his statement to the House Morrison said: “The Australian Cyber Security Centre recently identified a malicious intrusion into the Australian Parliament House computer network.

“During the course of this work, we also became aware that the networks of some political parties – Liberal, Labor and the Nationals – have also been affected.

“Our security agencies have detected this activity and acted decisively to confront it. They are securing these systems and protecting users”.

The Centre would provide any party or electoral body with technical help to deal with hacking, Morrison said.

“They have already briefed the Electoral Commissions and those responsible for cyber security for all states and territories. They have also worked with global anti-virus companies to ensure Australia’s friends and allies have the capacity to detect this malicious activity,” he said.

“The methods used by malicious actors are constantly evolving and this incident reinforces yet again the importance of cyber security as a fundamental part of everyone’s business.

“Public confidence in the integrity of our democratic processes is an essential element of Australian sovereignty and governance,” he said.

“Our political system and our democracy remains strong, vibrant and is protected. We stand united in the protection of our values and our sovereignty”.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten said party political structures were perhaps more vulnerable than government institutions – and progressive parties particularly so.

“We have seen overseas that it is progressive parties that are more likely to be targeted by ultra-right wing organisations,” he said.

“Political parties are small organisations with only a few full-time staff, they collect, store and use large amounts of information about voters and communities. These institutions can be a soft target and our national approach to cyber security needs to pay more attention to non-government organisations.”

The article first appeared in “The Conversation” (theconversation.com.au)

Who Can You Trust?

In a world beleaguered by spin and confused messages, there's never been more need for diverse, trustworthy, independent journalism in Canberra.

Who can you trust? Well, for more than 25 years, "CityNews" has proudly been an independent, free, family-owned news magazine, serving the national capital with quality, integrity and authority. Through our weekly magazine and daily through our digital platforms, we constantly and reliably deliver high-quality and diverse opinion, news, arts, socials and lifestyle columns.

If you trust our work online and believe in the power of independent voices, I encourage you to make a small contribution.

Every dollar of support will be invested back into our journalism so we can continue to provide a valuably different view of what's happening around you and keep citynews.com.au free.

Click here to make your donation and you will be supporting the future of journalism and media diversity in the ACT.

Thank you,

Ian Meikle, editor

Previous articleGrattan / Labor’s lead cut in latest Ipsos poll
Next articleAlison has the answer when relationships go wrong
Michelle Grattan
Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra, Michelle Grattan is one of Australia's most respected and awarded political journalists.

Leave a Reply