Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison revealed in a news conference on Friday that “Australian organizations are being targeted by a sophisticated state-based cyber actor”. 

Morrison said that the targets include a wide range of sectors including “all levels of government, industry, political organizations, education, health, essential service providers and operators of other critical infrastructures .”

The Australian Cyber Security Centre, the Australian government’s expert on cyber matters has also posted on its website the Essential 8, or Strategies to Mitigate Cyber Security Incidents, in assisting organizations in protecting their systems from diverse threats.

In addition, they have also been working together with the agencies targeted by the attacks to strengthen their defenses against them and reduce risks of a cybersecurity breach.

The malicious attacks, according to Morrision is not new, but the “frequency has been increasing” 

The reason for raising the issue to the public, Morrison said, is to raise awareness on the importance of security and mitigation and encourage organizations to heed the experts’ advice on the matter. 

According to a Reuters report, last year, they reported that China was responsible for a cyberattack on Australia’s parliament and its three largest political parties.

During that time, Australia did not publicly acknowledge China’s hand on it, China on the other hand denied the allegation.

In a BBC report, cyber intelligence expert Joshua Kennedy-White said that there are a few countries that have the capacity to carry out such an attack, including China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea, all of which are not in alliance with Australia. 

White told BBC, “There’s always simmering tensions between Russia and China so really, it comes down to those being the key actors they [Australia] would be referring to. 

In 2016, a cybersecurity strategy that was backed by the Australian government had cemented Australia’s role as a regional cybersecurity leader. 

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