Australia outs China as being behind cyber attack

The Australian Cyber Security Centre is investigating a breach of the ACT government's systems.

The Australian Cyber Security Centre is investigating a breach of the ACT government's systems. Photo: AAP

Australia has joined Five Eyes partners in outing China as being behind a cluster of cyber attacks targeting critical infrastructure in the United States.

America, Britain, Canada and New Zealand issued a joint advisory statement with Australia that said it was believed China would apply the same techniques against other sectors worldwide.

The advisory said Beijing had backed Volt Typhoon to target the infrastructure.

The state-sponsored hackers typically focus on espionage and information gathering.

Microsoft uncovered “stealthy and targeted malicious activity” focusing on access credentials, and said it assessed “with moderate confidence” that the campaign by Volt Typhoon was pursuing the ability to shut down critical communications infrastructure between the US and Asia.

Home Affairs Minister Clare O’Neil said the Australian government would not be shy in outing cyber attackers when it knew who was responsible.

“We have the evidence before us,” she told ABC Radio on Thursday.

“It’s important for the national security of our country that we’re transparent and up-front with Australians about the threats that we face.”

Ms O’Neil said the government would not compromise on national security as it tries to repair relations with Beijing.

The joint advisory by the five nations said “living off the land” was the primary tactic used by Beijing-backed cyber attackers.

The technique allows hackers to evade detection by blending in with the normal Windows operating systems and network to perform malicious actions.


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