Cyber Attack on Australian Parliament, Policy Makers and Cyber Sovereignty


It has been said to be a job done by a state actor, considering its scale. Yet the purpose of the recent cyber-attack on the server of Australian Parliament, that affected personal data of several MPs from Labor, Liberal and National parties, is still indeterminate. Despite Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s public announcement of the attack on 08 February 2019 not being on an assault on the elections, the spectre of a threat to Australian sovereignty still looms around. The cyber security pundits have already given their verdicts about the scale of the attack. But what seems to be confusing is its nature. As has been mentioned by both technological and policy experts, no data has gone lost. Nothing has been taken. But the absence of any takeaway might be even more alarming. This could imply a larger objective of getting the blueprint of the whole cyber structure of Australia. Statistically speaking, the Parliament is one of the best samples in the nation’s cyber infrastructure population.

Not only the parliament, but also private sectors such as Australian businesses are not off the hook. It has been reported by the IBM Security Cost of a Data Breach Report 2019, the Australian businesses are unable to retain three million dollars only in last year and took 281 days to recover from data breaches. Especially the banks are the prime targets for the hackers. The recent attacks on Australian education sector is also alarming as highlighted by recent data breaches at ANU and Australian Catholic University. The personal details of students and staffs such as names, addresses, dates of birth, phone numbers, personal e-mail addresses and emergency contact details, tax file numbers, payroll information, bank account details and passport details have been accessed by the hackers. Any combination of these details can be used to jeopardise the lives of individuals. For example, the hackers can go to any of the physical addresses and can hack into the Wi-Fi network to harvest the credentials used by the residents. Therefore, it is not only the individual at the organization under cyber-attack but also the friends and families. The passport details could be used to masquerade and in worst case scenario, temporary residents could be in danger followed by mayhem in international affairs and trade…Click here to read full article.