Chinese intelligence agencies had access to Australian politicians’ emails for up to a year after they hacked the parliamentary computer network in 2011, according to The Australian Financial Review.
Various media outlets reported the system had been hacked in March 2011, most likely by Chinese cyber spies. However it was assumed they only had access for around one month.
Citing seven Australian intelligence and parliamentary sources, the AFR says China actually had access for up to a year, which would have provided contact details, and access to all correspondence sent using the parliamentary system.
“It was like an open-cut mine,” said one source cited in the article, “they had access to everything.”
Most likely, this information would be used to map a web of relationships in Australian domestic politics, including politicians’ interactions with lobbyists.
The system is used to send unclassified communications, so a bulk of what China accessed, according to the report, would be mundane messages between MPs and parliamentary and electorate staffers.
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