Australia is currently being hit with a massive cyber attack by a “sophisticated, state-based cyber actor”, Prime Minister Scott Morrison says.
“This activity is targeting Australian organisations across a range of sectors, including all levels of government, industry, political organisations, education, health, essential service providers and operators of other critical infrastructure,” Mr Morrison told reporters Canberra.
“We know it is a sophisticated, state-based cyber actor because of the scale and nature of the targeting and the tradecraft used. Regrettably, this activity is not new. Frequency has been increasing.”
Mr Morrison said the government was announcing the issue today “not to raise concerns in the public’s mind but to raise awareness in the public’s mind”.
He said so far there had been no large-scale data breaches of Australians’ personal information as a result of the attacks.
“This is the world that we live in. These are the threats that we have to deal with. The fact that these threats present is not a surprise in this world in which we now live and the actions that we are taking are the actions that we need to take and we will continue to be as ever vigilant as we possibly can,” he said.
The ABC reports that China is behind the malicious attacks, yet Mr Morrison said the Federal Government would not be making “any public attribution” about the attack.
The Prime Minister reiterated that the attacks were “not new” but the “frequency has been increasing … over many months”.
“It hasn’t just started,” he said.
“This is a constant threat to Australia, as it is to many other nations and you would be aware of many other nations having highlighted similar activity in their jurisdictions. This has been a constant issue for Australia to deal with and so I wouldn’t say that there has been any one event or any one instance.”
He said it had been an “issue of ongoing management, defence and cooperation, working with private operators, other governments, all levels of government and other organisations”.
Mr Morrison said the Opposition had been notified last night, as had state and territory premiers and chief ministers.
“A number of them have already been involved working with our agencies on these issues,” he said.
“In addition to that there will be further technical briefings conducted with the states and territories today.”