Australia furious with Russia over hacking

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has issued a strong rebuke of Russia after Australia pinned four hacking attacks on their military intelligence arm.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Scott Morrison has condemned Russian hacking, urging them to stop malicious cyber activities. (AAP) Source: SBS

Australia is "very, very sure" Russia is responsible for malicious cyberattacks targeting political, business, media and sporting institutions worldwide.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison issued a stern warning to Russia after Australia joined Britain in linking four attacks with the Russian military's intelligence arm, the GRU.

While Australia was not significantly affected by the hacking, the attacks caused harm to civilian infrastructure and resulted in millions of dollars in economic damage across the world.

"The online environment is not the Wild West and the international laws apply," Mr Morrison said in Sydney on Thursday.

"It is not on and as an international community, we need to send that message very, very clearly."

He said the hacking came alongside the "outrageous" poisoning scandal, which led to the death of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal after he was infected with a nerve agent in the UK.

"We stood with the UK in their moment of need on those issues and called that behaviour out as well. We are not going to cop it," Mr Morrison said.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne said Russia had shown a total disregard for international agreements by embarking on a pattern of malicious cyber behaviour.

They include hacking medical records of international athletes from world sport's anti-doping agency and attacking the US Democratic Party's email server during the 2016 presidential election.

Russia has also been officially blamed for hacking multiple email accounts belonging to a small UK-based TV station, which had content stolen.

The fourth incident was an attack on Russian and Ukrainian energy and transport in October last year.

Australia's Ambassador for Cyber Affairs Tobias Feakin said critical infrastructure of neighbouring countries should be completely out of bounds during peacetime.

"We're very, very sure that it is them who have conducted this array of activity in the international arena. So we feel that the evidence base is firm," he told Sky News.

New Zealand joined the condemnation, with the Kiwi cybersecurity agency also determining Russia was responsible for the attacks.

2 min read
Published 4 October 2018 at 1:40pm
Source: AAP