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Australian agencies investigate attempted parliament hack

Australia’s security agencies are investigating efforts to hack into the country’s parliamentary computer system.

The attempted attack, which took place through Thursday night and Friday morning, is not believed to have exposed any data. But in a statement, parliament’s presiding officers said passwords had been reset out of “an abundance of caution”.

“We have no evidence that this is an attempt to influence the outcome of parliamentary processes or to disrupt or influence electoral or political processes,” the statement said.

“Accurate attribution of a cyber incident takes time and investigations are being undertaken in conjunction with the relevant security agencies.

“We are not in a position to provide further information publicly at this stage. Updates will be provided to members and senators and the media as required.”

Cyber security experts praised the parliament’s swift response to the incident. Forcepoint security strategist Alvin Rodrigues said “the government should be lauded for their efforts to quickly identify the breach and take precautionary steps to avert any leakage of data.

“While investigations into the attack are still underway, the precaution taken – resetting passwords – suggest that nefarious actors may be looking to steal the digital identities/ credentials of approved users, so as to operate within the parliamentary computer network without being identified.”

Darren Williams, the chief executive of BlackFog, said such attacks had become increasingly sophisticated: “Whilst Australian lawmakers have claimed there’s no sign that the hacking attempt aimed to ‘disrupt or influence electoral or political processes’ we are seeing signs of war being waged through coordinated cyber-attacks targeting both citizens and institutions for both political and monetary gain and governments must be prepared.”