Briefing

Australia the target of sophisticated, state-based cyberattacks, prime minister says

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Scott Morrison said the attacks targeted “government, industry, political organisations, education, health, essential service providers and operators of other critical infrastructure” in the country. Given their scope, Morrison said Australian officials believed a foreign government was behind the attacks—though he declined to make “any public attribution” as to which. (BBC)

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Talking point: While there are a number of countries capable of carrying out the attack, experts have long pointed at China as the likely culprit behind Australia’s cybersecurity woes. Beijing has imposed tariffs on Australian agricultural exports after Morrison’s government called for an independent international investigation into the initial handling of the COVID-19 outbreak, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Australian intelligence said China was behind the 2019 cyberattacks on Australia’s parliament, which gave the hackers access to tax and foreign policy documents and private email correspondence.