Australian politicians briefed on hacking threat after US election – NEWS.com.au
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the outgoing Obama administration “had fussily tried to undermine the normal relations between Russia and US” during its last days in office, speaking alongside his Hungarian counterpart Peter Szijjarto in Moscow, Monday. Lavrov’s comments come after former US President Barack Obama signed orders for the expulsion of a series of Russian diplomats and prominent Russian figures from the US just before leaving office. Obama also approved the deployment of some 4,000 US soldiers as well as thousands of units of heavy military equipment to the former Soviet bloc, including tanks and infantry fighting vehicles, before stepping down on January 20. The arrival of the troops and the order against Russian in officials residing in the States came during a spat between the Democratic Party and Moscow over allegations of Russian hacking into the US presidential elections. Moscow has refuted the claims. Lavrov also commented on the inter-Syrian peace talks currently taking place in Astana, which Russia, alongside Turkey and Iran, helped broker.
MALCOLM Turnbull has defended his decision to publicly announce Australian political leaders would be briefed on cyber threats, saying hacking is the ‘new frontier of warfare’.
This morning it was revealed political leaders would be briefed on the threat of cybersecurity attacks — and how to protect against them — after hacking claims rocked the US election.
Intelligence agency the Australian Signals Directorate will brief all political party bosses on the threats they are facing and how to protect against them when parliament resumes.
Last week it was reported Christian Porter, Chris Bowen and Cory Bernardi were among the victims of a internet security breach.
After receiving a briefing on the threats today, Mr Turnbull told reporters in Canberra today cyber security was now at the forefront of efforts to keep Australia safe.
“This is the new frontier of warfare, it is the new frontier of espionage and the new frontier of many threats to Australian families, to Governments, to businesses,” Mr Turnbull said.
The Prime Minister defended his decision to announce the briefings, saying it was now acknowledged that there had been Russian efforts to influence the recent American election.
When asked whether there needed more infrastructure or investment to defend against cyber attacks against MPs, he said politicians just needed better digital practices.
“Most of the vulnerabilities are a consequence of the warm-ware, the humans failing to protect themselves — opening an attachment to an email that contains phishing malware for example, something of that kind,” Mr Turnbull said.
“Most people are aware of it but not sufficiently aware.”
He said he was not aware of any recent attempts by a foreign country to influence an Australian election.
Earlier, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Cyber Security Dan Tehan said cyber security would be at the forefront of the Turnbull Government’s national security agenda this year.
Mr Tehan and Mr Turnbull will attend a high-level briefing today ahead of the classified briefing that will be offered to the leaders of the Australian Labor Party, the Greens, Pauline Hanson and Nick Xenophon in coming weeks, The Australian reports.
“We have to make sure we’re protecting our democracy, that’s what this is about,” Mr Tehan told 2GB radio this morning.
“The Prime Minister is going to make sure all political parties, all political organisations are aware of the threat, so that they can do what they need to do to protect themselves to make sure our democracy continues to function unhindered by the influence of outside actors.”
Allegations that Russian hackers had leaked private emails from members of the Democratic Party to influence the US Presidential elections had prompted the Prime Minister to ask intelligence agencies to hold the briefings.
“The danger here is that the technology changes so rapidly and so quickly that you always have to be changing what you’re doing to protect yourself,” Mr Tehan said.
“As soon as you stand still in this area you’re going backwards.
“We’ve got to make sure we continue to evolve with the technological changes.”
Cyber security will also be included in bilateral security talks with Indonesia for the first time when Mr Tehan, Attorney-General George Brandis and Justice Minister Michael Keenan meet with Indonesian officials early next month.