Chinese and Russian spy agencies, as well as hired hackers are allegedly increasing their number of attacks on the Australian government’s secure communications network in Canberra.
According to The Australian, the spike in serious cyber attacks is now in the hundreds of attempts a month and has forced the 97 agencies that use the Intra Government Communications Network to encrypt more data then ever.
A report from The Finance Department shows that in November of those 97 agencies, 17 of them weren’t encrypting their data over the ICON system, making the agencies vulnerable to outside attacks.
This has prompted both the Australian Signals Directorate and Attorney-General’s Department to urge federal agencies to hurry up with increasing their digital security, despite the reluctance by some agencies.
Most of the attacks these are allegedly coming from China, closely followed by Russia and Indonesia.
It’s believed that China was behind major attacks on the Bureau of Meteorology in December last year, with the attack likely an attempt to steal information about the Bureau’s clients, including the Defence Force.
Currently government transmissions are communicated through a 160,000km point-to-point fibre connection between 400 buildings in Canberra. But apparently one of the biggest problems with this is that several of the fibre puts around Canberra are simply protected with a padlock, meaning hackers could physically access the network that way and tap in.
Such a hack would most likely be easily detected, but it’s a vulnerability that could help with increasingly sophisticated attacks by hackers.