Chinese spies may have read all MPs emails for a year

One reason in particular nations conducting espionage find personal relationships and domestic politics useful is that information on personal relationships can be used in the future for blackmail and knowledge of domestic politics gives them further understanding into the thinking of citizens. Understanding the thinking of citizens makes it much easier, for example, an infiltrated media to manipulate information to the point where they can steer the thinking of cultures.

The Chinese intelligence agencies that penetrated Australia’s parliamentary computer network in 2011 may have been inside the system for up to a year and had access to documents and emails that reveal the political, professional and social links across the political world, according to seven sources with knowledge of the breach.

Security and parliamentary sources said Chinese agencies obtained remote, system administrator access to the Parliament’s computer network, which “effectively gave them control of it”.

Senior sources said the breach was much more serious. Australian intelligence reached the “absolutely clear conclusion” that Chinese intelligence was responsible and informed their political masters the identities of the intruders.

The intelligence services briefed the parliamentary committee that oversees security matters while it was in progress, sources said, and the network was shut down several times while analysts from the Australian Signals Directorate patched it. “It was like an open-cut mine,” said one participant. “They had access to everything.”

China got access to all emails, contact databases and other documents stored on Parliament’s computers.

One participant said they were “surprised at the extent of the compromise and did not immediately comprehend why information on personal relationships and domestic politics would have been so useful to the Chinese”.

Full article: Chinese spies may have read all MPs emails for a year (The Age)

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