The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) was targeted by cyber-attacks in recent years – possibly via malware from China – according to recent news reports.
The attacks were after confidential economic information. No data was lost or systems compromised, Reuters reported. But the Australian Financial Review newspaper claimed the RBA was hacked “repeatedly” and information was stolen – a slightly different account than what the RBA confirmed.
“The RBA is sufficiently concerned about these risks that it has had a private security firm carry out ‘penetration testing,’ or authorized hacking, of its computer networks to assess the integrity of its digital defenses,” the newspaper reported.
The RBA confirmed the attacks did take place, but did not offer many details. “The Bank has comprehensive security arrangements in place which have isolated these attacks and ensured that viruses have not been spread across the Bank's network or systems,” according to a statement released by the RBA. “At no point have these attacks caused the Bank's data or information to be lost or its systems to be corrupted.”
There were reports too that Trojan horse malware was directed to six RBA computers. The malware was described as “Chinese-developed.”
The goal of a 2011 attack was apparently to get information on G20 negotiations between Australia and nations involved in the talks. Also, data breaches took place from stolen and/or lost laptops, phones and documents. About 100 system accounts were locked as a result of the viruses. A bank official would not confirm that China was source of the malware.
It was also reported that computers belonging to Australia's prime minister, foreign minister and defense minister may have been hacked in 2011. But Chinese officials said the reports were “groundless and made out of ulterior purposes.”
In 2012, China-based Huawei (News - Alert) was prevented from bidding on contracts on Australia's $37 billion broadband rollout because of potential cyber-attacks.
Edited by Brooke Neuman