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Aus/Chi Bots

Illustrator: Simoul Alva

Technology
The Big Take

How Hackers Hammered Australia After China Ties Turned Sour

Wave after wave of cyberattacks has shaken the country. Experts say even the wealthiest nations are at risk if they annoy China enough.

A few days after Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for an independent international probe into the origins of the coronavirus, Chinese bots swarmed on to Australian government networks. It was April 2020. 

The bots ran hundreds of thousands of scans, apparently looking for vulnerabilities that could later be exploited. It was a massive and noisy attack with little effort made to hide the bots’ presence, said Robert Potter, chief executive officer of Internet 2.0, an Australian cybersecurity firm that works extensively with the federal government.