Australia is under increasing attack from a “sophisticated state-based cyber actor,” the Australian prime minister said Friday.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison would not name the state, and he said he made the threat public to raise awareness.
“This activity is targeting Australian organizations across a range of sectors, including all levels of government, industry, political organizations, education, health, essential service providers and operators of other critical infrastructure,” Morrison told reporters.
Although the threat was constant, the frequency of attacks had increased “over many months,” he said.
“This is the actions of a state-based actor with significant capabilities. There aren’t too many state-based actors who have those capabilities.”
Australia’s Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said advice showed no large-scale personal data breaches from the attack.
The revelation comes after Reuters reported Canberra had determined in March last year that China was responsible for a hacking attack on Australia’s Parliament. Australia never publicly identified that source of the attack and China denied it was responsible.
A U.S. security ally, Australia strained ties with its largest trading partner, China, by pushing for an international inquiry into the source and spread of COVID-19 that first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.