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Security incident hits Australia's parliament network

10 February 2019

"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 presiding officers of the bicameral parliament said in a statement, as quoted by ABC.

"Accurate attribution of a cyber incident takes time and investigations are being undertaken in conjunction with the relevant security agencies", Smith and Ryan said.

Parliament's network includes legislators' email archives, The New York Times reported.

Computer passwords have been reset as a precaution as the investigations continue.

Past year the Notifiable Data Breach Scheme was introduced in Australia, requiring most organisations with a turnover above $3 million to report any breaches likely to result in serious harm to the individuals affected and Australia's privacy watchdog.

The presiding officers said DPS was now working with the relevant security agencies to investigate the incident, but stressed there was "no evidence that any data has been accessed or taken at this time".

As with the U.K. Parliament breach, weak passwords chosen for email accounts and cloud services were also cited as the method using by an attacker to gather personal information on German politicians and celebrities, which was leaked throughout December 2018.

Security industry sources said it was possible China could be behind the latest attack.

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"The Department of Parliamentary Services responded immediately to the detection", a spokesperson said.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that no governmental departments or agencies had been targeted, but he did not provide any further detail.

"Our immediate focus has been on securing the network and protecting data and users".

In 2011, senior Australian ministers also had their email systems breached.

Senator Jordon Steele-John said on Twitter that the "incident" meant he could not access his emails.

The incident has been compared to a robber breaking into a house, whereby authorities know the front door has been broken but are yet to find out if anything else has been taken, or if there is another way to break in.

"I've had some briefings on it".

"Following a security incident on the parliamentary computing network, a number of measures have been implemented to protect the network and its users", the statement said.

Security incident hits Australia's parliament network