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Cyber Attacks Leave Govt Networks Open To Espionage Threat

A damning report made by Australian media has revealed sensitive Australian Government and corporate computer networks have been severely compromised.

A Four Corners investigation aired on ABC last night has established that in a range of sophisticated cyber attacks, Australian organisations with highly confidential plans have been laid bare.

Austrade and the Defence Department’s elite research division, now named the Defence Science Technology Group, both suffered significant cyber infiltrations in the past five years by hackers based in China in particularly Beijing.

Four Corners has also confirmed Newsat, an Australian satellite company whose assets were sold off last year after the company went into administration, had also been significantly compromised.

The program said it is only scratching the surface in reporting only a fraction of the cyber attacks being waged against Australian governments and companies.

The Prime Minister’s cyber security adviser, Alastair MacGibbon, pictured, told Four Corners the Australian Government was “attacked on a daily basis”.

Four Corners said it has also been given fresh details about the high-profile hack of the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) hack which was officially confirmed by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull earlier this year.

Government and industry sources say the true targets for the cyber attack may have been defence assets linked to the BoM and its vast data-collection.

These potentially included the Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation, an intelligence agency within the Department of Defence which provides detailed mapping information for military and espionage purposes.

The other was the Jindalee Operational Radar Network (JORN), a high-tech over-the-horizon radar run by the Royal Australian Air Force.

Four Corners was told the cyber attack failed to reach into these networks, and that it was “sandboxed”, or contained within the BoM.

Intelligence sources confirmed the attack was attributed to China, which was again denied by Beijing. MacGibbon said he did not know what the intention was of the people who compromised the system.

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