China behind massive cyber-attack on Australian govt, says ABC report

A major cyber-attack against Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology that may have compromised potentially sensitive national security information is being blamed on China, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported on Wednesday.

The Bureau of Meteorology owns one of Australia’s largest supercomputers and the attack, which the ABC said occurred in recent days, may have allowed those responsible access to the Department of Defense through a linked network.

The ABC, citing several unidentified sources with knowledge of the “massive” breach, placed the blame on China, which has in the past been accused of hacking sensitive Australian government computer systems.

“It’s China,” the ABC quoted one source as saying.

Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) executive director Peter Jennings said there was evidence China was behind the hack.

The bureau is a critical national resource and another state would place a high value on its intellectual property and scientific research.

In the event of a conflict, compromising Australia’s ability to accurately forecast weather would affect the operation of military and commercial aircraft.

Beyond that, the bureau provides a gateway to other agencies.

“They’re looking for the weakest link and so if you go into an agency, which may have a level of security clearance, but perhaps not as high as central parts of the national security community, maybe there are weaknesses they can exploit which will enable them to then move into other, more highly-valued targets,” Jennings said.

Full article: China behind massive cyber-attack on Australian govt, says ABC report (Asia Times)

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