Istvan Miskolczy | Tue, 23 Jun 2020
In a recent briefing, Australian PM Scott Morrison announced that “based on advice provided to me by cyber experts Australian organizations are currently being targeted by a sophisticated state-based cyber actor”. “We know it is state-based” – he added – based on the scale and nature of the targeting. Services across a range of sectors, on all levels, including governmental, industrial, and political organizations as well as healthcare are said to be affected by the attacks.
There are many speculations about the identity of this “state-based cyber actor”. For instance, the executive director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Peter Jennings told CNN that there was a “95% chance that it is China who is responsible for the attack”. Beijing, however, denied their responsibility and participation in the cyber-attacks.
The accusation comes after some sparks in the Chinese-Australian relations after Canberra called for an international investigation on the exact origins of COVID-19. In turn, Beijing imposed tariffs on some Australian import products.
“This activity is not new, but frequency is increasing” – PM Morrison also told. He reassured the public that the Australian Government is aware of what happened and the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) is working together with affected organizations to ensure they have proper preventing and mitigating measures put in place.
The ACSC has immediately published an extensive and detailed guide on the issue upon Minister for Defence, Linda Reynolds said that “It is vital that all Australian organizations are alert to this threat and take steps to protect their networks.” “There is no doubt that malicious cyber activity is increasing in frequency, scale, in sophistication, and also in its impact. This activity harms Australia’s national security and also our economic interests.” – she added.
Since 2016 the Australian government had spent 230 million dollars on cybersecurity investments. Now, another 156 million dollars package will be added to this alongside with a new cybersecurity strategy.