Chinese supporters gather in front of the Parliament building during the 2008 Olympic Torch Relay in Beijing by Canberra, Australia on April 24, 2008.
Torsten Blackwood | AFP | Getty Images
The Australian intelligence agency noted that China was responsible for a cyber attack on its national parliament and the three largest political parties before the general elections in May – the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) concluded in March that the Chinese Ministry of State Security was responsible for the attack, the five people told Reuters, who were directly informed about the results of the investigation.
The five sources refused to be identified on the sensitivity of the problem. Reuters did not check the secret report.
The report, which also included contributions from the State Department, recommended that the findings be kept secret to avoid disrupting trade relations with Beijing, two respondents said. The Australian government has not disclosed who it believes it is behind the attack, and no details of the report.
Asked by Reuters, Prime Minister Scott Morrison's office refused to comment privately on the attack, the results of the report or the question of whether Australia had done so. The ASD also declined to comment.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry rejected any involvement in hacking attacks and said the Internet was full of theories that were hard to trace.
Be proof of the facts, otherwise only rumors arise and others are smeared and people are labeled indiscriminately. We want to emphasize that China is also the victim of Internet attacks, "the ministry said in a statement sent to Reuters.
" China hopes that Australia can meet China halfway and do more to build mutual trust and cooperation
China is Australia's largest trading partner, which dominates the purchase of Australian iron ore, coal and agricultural goods more than a third of the country's total exports and annually more than one million tourists and students there. [1
Australia revealed in February that hackers had violated the network of the Australian National Parliament. Morrison said at the time that the attack was "refined" and likely carried out by a foreign government. He did not name a government suspected of involvement.
When the hacker was discovered, the Australian legislator and his staff were instructed by the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate to urgently change their passwords parliamentary declaration at the time.
The ASD investigation quickly revealed that the hackers had also accessed the networks of the ruling Liberal Party, its coalition partner, the rural population, and the opposition Labor Party. 19659002] The Labor Party did not respond to a request for comment. A person close to the party claimed to have been informed of the results without providing any details.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the opening ceremony of the Invictus Games on October 20, 2018 in Sydney, Australia.
Samir Hussein | WireImage | Getty Images
The timing of the attack, three months before the Australian elections, and the start of the US cyber attack on the US presidential election in 2016, raised concerns over electoral intervention, but it did There was no indication that the information collected by the hackers was not used in any way, sources said.
Morrison and his liberal-national coalition have resisted the polls to narrowly win the May election, a result that Morrison calls a "miracle."
Attacks on political parties gave perpetrators access to policy papers on issues such as tax and foreign policy and private e-mail correspondence between lawmakers, their employees and other citizens, sources said.
Independent MPs and other political parties were not affected, one of these sources said.
Australian investigators found that the attacker used code and techniques known to have been used by China in the past. According to the two sources.
The Australian intelligence service also found that the country's political parties were a target of Beijing's espionage without further incidents.
People refused to state how the attackers violated network security and said it was unclear when the attack started or how long the hackers had access to the networks.
The attackers used sophisticated techniques to hide their access and identity without giving any indication.
The findings have also been reported to at least two allies, the United States and the United Kingdom. said four people who were familiar with the investigation.
The United Kingdom sent a small team of cyber experts to Canberra to help investigate the attack.
The United States and the United Kingdom declined to comment.  China's Relationships
Australia has intensified its efforts in recent years to combat China's growing influence in Australia. This policy has affected trade with China.
For example, Canberra banned overseas political donations in 2017 and called on lobbyists to register links to foreign governments. A year later, ASD led the risk assessment of the new 5G technology in Australia, which led Canberra to banish Chinese telecommunications company Huawei from its emerging 5G network.
Some US officials and diplomats welcomed such steps in Australia and praised countries According to two diplomatic sources in the US, others are disappointed with Australia's reluctance to publicly open China.
US. State Secretary Mike Pompeo says goodbye to officials at Sydney International Airport in Australia on 4 August 2019.
Jonathan Ernst | AFP | Getty Images
During a visit to Sydney last month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticized Australia's actions with a touch of disguise after Secretary of State Marise Payne declared that Canberra would make decisions on China based on "our national interest".
Pompeo said that countries can not separate trade and economic issues from national security.
"You can sell your soul for a bunch of soybeans or you can protect your people," he told reporters at a joint appearance with Payne in Sydney. 19659002] Morrison's office refused to comment on whether the United States was frustrated in Australia for failing to publicly challenge China over the attack. The US State Department did not respond immediately to requests for comments.