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Australia raises concern over China’s malicious cyber activities

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malicious cyber activities

The Australian Government has joined its international partners in expressing serious concerns about the malicious cyber activities done by China’s Ministry of State Security. 

After a consultation with the country’s partners, the Australian Government has determined that China’s Ministry of State Security exploited the vulnerabilities in the Microsoft Exchange software. 

In a joint media release between Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews and Minister for Defence Peter Dutton, they stated that China’s actions have affected thousands of computers and networks worldwide including Australia. 

They also stated that China’s Ministry of State Security has undermined international stability and security by opening the door to a range of other actors, including cybercriminals, who will exploit the vulnerability for illicit gain. 

Aside from this, the Australian Government is also concerned about the reports that China’s Ministry of State Security was engaging with contract hackers, who have carried out cyber-enabled intellectual property theft for personal gain while providing a commercial advantage to the Chinese Government. 

In the joint media release, Australia calls on all countries to act responsibly in cyberspace. This call includes China as the Australian Government calls upon to country to adhere to the commitments it has made in the G20. 

The Australian Government also bilaterally calls upon China to refrain from cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property, trade secrets and confidential business information with the intent of obtaining a competitive advantage. 

Australia calls out these malicious cyber activities in order to highlight the significant risk they can pose to the country’s national security or to international stability, which in turn can undermine business confidence and inclusive economic growth. 

Since 2017, Australia has publicly attributed malicious cyber activity to North Korea, Russia, China and Iran. Recently, Australia joined more than 30 international partners to hold Russia to account for its harmful cyber campaign against SolarWinds.  

While Australia’s cyber security posture is strong, the joint media release has clearly stated that there is no room for complacency given the online threat environment is constantly evolving. Protecting the country’s cyber space requires a continuous improvement approach to cyber security practices across all levels of society including government, business and households. 

The Australian Government will continue to work with international partners and the private sector to strengthen cyber security. This includes the implementation of Australia’s Cyber Security Strategy 2020 and Australia’s International Cyber and Critical Technology Engagement Strategy

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