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Australian Parliament computer system hacked; Chinese hand suspected

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Canberra, Feb 8: The computer network of the Australian Parliament faced a cyber breach on Friday, February 8, and the country's security agencies were probing whether China is behind the incident.

Australian Parliament computer system hacked; Chinese hand suspected

Australia's ABC News said the hacking is likely the result of an attack by a foreign government.

The federal parliament's presiding officials said in a statement that the authorities were yet to find any evidence of data having been stolen. The hackers were also referred to as "sophisticated".

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"We have no evidence that this is an attempt to influence the outcome of parliamentary processes or to disrupt or influence electoral or political processes," the Parliament's presiding officers said in a statement.

Computer passwords were resent as a precaution as investigation continued.

"Accurate attribution of a cyber incident takes time and investigations are being undertaken in conjunction with the relevant security agencies," the statement further added.

The ABC News also quoted Nigel Phair, a cyber security expert from the University of Canberra, as underlying the seriousness of the breach.

"If you look at what goes on in Parliament House, you've got politicians, you've got staffers, you've got government departments that are moving in and out of the organisation and a lot of that is through electronic means," Phair, an adjunct professor, was quoted as saying by the news outlet.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said no federal government departments or agencies were targeted in the hacking though he refused to give details.

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Report of China spying on Australian businesses

Last November, Chinese experts living in Australia said recent report about China's state security police hacking and spying on Australian businesses were "credible".

According to an investigation conducted by Fairfax Media/Nine News, Australian Signals Directorate, a partner in the Five Eyes intelligence grouping, detected China's ministry of state security overseeing a "massive hacking operation" of large Australian businesses with the code name "Operation Cloud Hopper", Radio Free Asia reported.

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