Australian parliament computer network breached

Tourists walk around the forecourt of Australia's Parliament House in Canberra on Oct 16 2017

Tourists walk around the forecourt of Australia's Parliament House in Canberra on Oct 16 2017

"There is no evidence that any data has been accessed or taken at this time, however this will remain subject to ongoing investigation", a joint statement issued by House of Representatives speaker Tony Smith and Senate President Scott Ryan said.

In a statement, Federal Parliament's presiding officers said authorities were yet to detect any evidence data had been stolen in the breach.

"Following a security incident on the parliamentary computing network, a number of measures have been implemented to protect the network and its users", the statement said.

"All users have been required to change their passwords", they said.

The attack happened on Thursday night and early Friday morning.

In December, officials in the United States and Britain said businesses and government agencies in the two countries and at least 10 others - which did not include Australia - were the victims of a massive data theft carried out by state-sponsored Chinese hackers.

It is understood the Australian Signals Directorate is assisting and investigating, alongside the Department of Parliamentary Services. "There might be interesting information about parliamentary perks that are given to politicians that the public may not like".

In 2015 and 2016, there were high-profile attacks on the government's weather and statistics agencies.

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"My primary concern is making sure we get that offender out and we keep the offender out".

While the compromise is yet to be attributed to any specific actor, the ABC has reported that the incident is likely the result of a foreign government attack and that security agencies are looking into the possible involvement of China.

Australia's ties with Russia soured after the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 in 2014, brought down by a Russian surface-to-air missile.

It is believed that information was not accessed and that the passwords of politicians were reset as a precaution. But previous incidents have proven otherwise.

Past year the Notifiable Data Breach Scheme was introduced in Australia, requiring most organisations with a turnover above $3 million to report any breaches likely to result in serious harm to the individuals affected and Australia's privacy watchdog.

In 2011, senior Australian ministers also had their email systems breached. In response, IT teams disabled remote access to the accounts.

Parliament House in Canberra, Australia.

Alan Woodward, a professor of computer science at the University of Surrey, has described these types of email account-targeting attacks as "rattling door handles to see if any are open".

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