Australian national security officials have denied that classified plans of ASIO’s new headquarters were stolen by Chinese hackers, and say the opposition was told this in a security briefing.
According to security officials familiar with the matter, cyber intrusions were attempted against contractors on the ASIO headquarters building project. The attacks are understood to have taken place in 2009-10. The malware employed in these efforts targeted building drawings and schematics.
But the attempted hacking was ”not successful” in obtaining sensitive classified information. ”This was one of many attempts to obtain sensitive Australian government information, most likely by Chinese intelligence services, but there was no compromise,” one security official said.
On Monday the ABC’s Four Corners program quoted anonymous informants as saying Chinese hackers targeted a contracting firm working on the ASIO building and stole ”the blueprints, not just of the overall building but also of the communications cabling and server locations, of the floor plans, and the security systems”.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard said Four Corners, which canvassed several alleged cyber security breaches, included ”unsubstantiated allegations” and ”inaccurate reports”.
After a classified briefing by ASIO on Tuesday evening, shadow attorney-general George Brandis accused Ms Gillard of making a ”false” claim about the Four Corners report.
”She dismissed the allegations … as being incorrect and inaccurate, and that statement is wrong,” he said.
An ABC spokesman said Four Corners ”strongly stands by the accuracy of the story but the source is strictly confidential”.
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