Australian Government joins global condemnation of Chinese espionage, warning local businesses hit – Politics
Foreign Minister Marise Payne joined other countries in expressing “serious concern” about the cyber espionage. (ABC News: Matt Roberts)
Australia has joined global condemnation of Chinese state-backed cyber hacking, confirming local companies were also targeted in online attacks.
The US Justice Department has charged two Chinese citizens, alleging they carried out extensive cyber espionage backed by the Chinese Ministry of State Security.
Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton issued a statement shortly after US officials announced the charges, voicing Australia’s “serious concern” about the hacking allegations.
“When it is in our interests to do so, Australia publicly attributes cyber incidents, especially those with the potential to undermine global economic growth, national security and international stability,” the pair said in a statement.
“Australia calls on all countries — including China — to uphold commitments to refrain from cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property, trade secrets and confidential business information with the intent of obtaining a competitive advantage.
“These commitments were agreed by G20 leaders in 2015. Australia and China reaffirmed them bilaterally in 2017.”
National Cyber Security Adviser Alastair MacGibbon said the group had been targeting IT companies that provide services to medium and large businesses.
“This is audacious, it is huge, and it impacts potentially thousands of businesses globally. We know there are victims in Australia,” Mr MacGibbon told RN Breakfast.
He argued the intellectual property theft disadvantaged Australian businesses and their staff.
“And that essentially takes food from the people of Australia,” Mr MacGibbon said.
“It helps them compete in a way that we can’t.”
Australia’s Ambassador for Cyber Affairs Tobias Feakin argued Australia was taking a big step in naming and shaming China for its support of hacking.
“This is incredibly significant, we’ve never done this before. This is the first time we’ve ever actually named this particular country in relation to this issue,” Dr Feakin told AM.
“The language that we’re using, we feel, represents how strongly we feel about this, which is incredibly strong.
“As an international community, as Australia, we are now far more robust in the way that we will name and shame, and we will shine a light on activities that we think are unacceptable.”