Australia’s parliament is under daily attack from malicious actors seeking to infiltrate its computer systems.
Senate President Scott Ryan told a parliamentary committee on Monday investments in beefing up cybersecurity had paid dividends in recent months.
“The sophistication of these types of attacks and the attractiveness of the parliamentary environment … was highlighted when we began to see parliamentary staff being targeted through personal email addresses in an attempt to bypass the security controls on the parliamentary network,” he told the estimates hearing in Canberra.
Staff were asked not to access personal web-based email accounts from parliament’s computers for a week, which along with “maturing cybersecurity defences” thwarted the attempted attacks.
“This is one example of many cases on a daily basis where parliament is targeted by malicious actors,” Senator Ryan said.
Nevertheless, he reminded all senators and those working in the building that cybersecurity was everyone’s business.
The Australian Parliament House network was breached in February 2019 in an attack that sought to hack the platforms of the Liberal, Labor and National political parties.
A small amount of non-sensitive data was taken.
Security sources have reportedly pinned that attack on China, but the government has never confirmed its suspicions about who was behind the hack.