China is the top suspect in a major online espionage in Australia which targeted at least 10 federal ministers, including the Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd and Defence Minister Stephen Smith, reported The Daily Telegraph Mar 29. The hacking was reported to have continued for more than a month, beginning in Feb’11, resulting in access to possibly several thousand emails.
The report cited four separate government sources as confirming they had been told that Chinese intelligence agencies were among a list of foreign hackers under suspicion.
The cyber attack was believed to have occurred on the email network of the Australian Parliament House used primarily for MPs' correspondence. However, the more secure departmental network used by ministers for sensitive communications was said to be unaffected.
The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation was believed to be investigating the case, although it remains Canberra’s policy not to comment on the operations of security and intelligence agencies.