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Australia Under Cyber-Attack

PostPosted: June 20th, 2020, 12:05 pm
by toucana
Australian PM Scott Morrison announced on Friday that a wide range of political and private sector organisations have come under a cyber-attack carried out by a “sophisticated state-based actor.”

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/jun/19/australia-cyber-attack-attacks-hack-state-based-actor-says-australian-prime-minister-scott-morrison

The government’s Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) issued advice on Friday about the techniques used in the attack, described as “copy-paste compromises” copied from open source code that can be countered by running software updates, and by reviewing existing security protocols.

The ACSC said the attacker had attempted to exploit public-facing infrastructure. But when that did not succeed, the attacker used personalised “spearphishing” techniques, including sending targets links to malicious files and websites aimed at harvesting passwords.

PM Scott Morrisson declined to name at this stage which country was believed to be reponsible. He said the threshold of evidence to attribute an attack to a particular country publicly was “extremely high.” But other sources within Australia and elsewhere, with experience of such attacks, say that only three countries, China Russia and North Korea fit the profile of such a “state-based actor”.

Last year Reuters reported that Australia had intelligence that determined China was responsible for a cyber-attack on parliament and the three largest political parties before the May 2019 federal election, citing five sources with direct knowledge.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-australia-china-cyber-exclusive/exclusive-australia-concluded-china-was-behind-hack-on-parliament-political-parties-sources-idUSKBN1W00VF

Intellectual property is often a prime target for such state-sponsored attacks, and COVID-19 vaccine research data is a particularly important target for international theft at present.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-06-19/why-would-china-launch-cyber-attack-against-australia/12374990
“There has been increased espionage activity looking to extract material related to COVID-19”, said one source.

"If you knew how a particular vaccine was performing ahead of time, you could invest in factories earlier"

"In the context of this pandemic, starting a month earlier would result in a huge benefit economically."