Prime Minister Scott Morrison has revealed the computer networks of the federal parliament and major parties have come under “malicious” attack from a “state actor”.
In a special national security statement to the House of Representatives on Monday, the PM said that while investigating a previously-announced cyber attack on the parliament, Australian security agencies had uncovered further interference with the systems of the Liberal, Labor and National parties.
“The networks of some political parties — Liberal, Labor and Nationals — have also been affected,” Morrison said.
“Our security agencies have detected this activity and acted decisively to confront it.”
He said there was “no evidence of electoral interference” but that national tech security agencies were “securing systems and protecting users”.
“I do not propose to go into the detail of these operational matters but our cyber experts believe a sophisticated state actor is responsible for this malicious activity,” the PM said.
“I have instructed the Australian Cyber Security Centre to be ready to provide any political party or electoral body in Australia with immediate support, including making their technical experts available.”
“They have already briefed the Electoral Commissions and those responsible for cyber security for all states and territories. They have also worked with global anti-virus companies to ensure Australia’s friends and allies have the capacity to detect this malicious activity.”
Labor leader Bill Shorten, speaking after Morrison, also condemned the attack.
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“The attempted hacking of the Parliament House network is a source of grave concern to us all. Australia is exempt or immune from the kind of malicious activity that we have seen elsewhere,” he said.
“Political parties are small organisations with only a few full-time staff, yet they collect, store and use large amounts of information about voters and communities.”