China Blamed for Hacking Australia's Weather Bureau, ABC Says

  • Security breach affected other government agencies: report
  • Weather bureau says its systems are `fully operational'

China is being blamed for a cyber attack on Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology that may have compromised computer systems across the federal government, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported, citing unidentified sources.

The recent security breach will cost millions of dollars to fix as other agencies that receive information from the bureau have been affected, the national broadcaster said, citing official sources it didn’t identify. There was little doubt the source of the attack was China, the ABC cited one official as saying, without elaborating.

The weather bureau declined to comment on security matters, beyond saying it worked closely with government security agencies. The bureau’s “systems are fully operational,” according to a statement on its website. The office of Attorney-General George Brandis didn’t immediately respond to e-mailed request for comment on the ABC report.

China has previously denied reports of hacking, including claims reported by the Daily Telegraph in 2011 that its intelligence agencies accessed the e-mails of senior Australian officials including then Prime Minister Julia Gillard. The U.S. has previously accused China of hacking American companies to steal industrial trade secrets.

The motivation for the attack on the weather bureau could be commercial, strategic or both, the ABC reported.

The defense department said in an e-mailed statement the government “does not publicly discuss specific cyber activities or incidents.”

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