Foreign Cyber Attackers Continue to Menace Australia
September 4, 2020
Australian businesses and government departments continue to be targeted by cyberattacks by a “sophisticated state-based actor,” according to senior officials in Canberra. They have insisted the threat is intensifying and could interfere in Australia's economy and political systems.
Australian Defense Minister
Linda Reynolds on Thursday warned that cyberattacks were blurring the
lines between war and peace. She has said malicious activity targeting
Australia had increased in recent months.
The spectrum of offenses is broad. At one end the report says, there are opportunistic cybercriminals after companies’ and individuals’ money. At the other end “are sophisticated and very well-resourced state-based actors who are seeking to interfere” in Australia’s affairs.
Reynolds said the threat is getting worse.
“Cyber-enabled activities have the potential to drive disinformation, and also directly support interference in our economy, interference in our political system, and also in what we see as critical infrastructure, but more widely across many businesses and organizations in our economy,” she said.
Canberra won’t reveal who is behind the cyberattacks, but intelligence sources are blaming China for the intrusions.
Officials have said that in the intervening period the attacks have continued.
This week, Rachel Noble, the head of the Australian Signals Directorat, a government intelligence agency, gave a rare speech. She warned it was becoming “near impossible” for agencies to successfully fight crime and espionage.
Civil liberties groups have said expanding the powers of Australia’s spy agencies would undermine privacy and could lead to an abuse of authority.