On 8th February, 2019, news came from the corridors of Australian parliament. An attempt was made to paralyze the cyber-security of the parliament as attackers tried to hack into its server that is used by the staff to store emails among other data. Password of each staff member’s email was reset by the security agencies in order to safeguard the data against any further attack. The latest reports confirm that Liberal-National coalition parties were also affected by the attack. Opposition leader Bill Shorten labelled the entire incident as a ‘wake-up call’ for the nation’s cyber security.
According to the head of Australian Cyber Security Centre, Alistair MacGibbon, who is also the nation’s chief cyber security officer; no evidence was found against a successful data breach or if the information was stolen Although, no evidence of electoral influence has been found till date. Ministers and their offices remain unaffected since they operate on a different server. To ensure the integrity of the electoral system, Australian Cyber Security Centre along with global anti-virus firms, is working to ensure its capacity to detect malicious activities any further.
Local cyber-security experts speculated it as hack-from-a-foreign-state. In blunt words, the security agencies in Australia have put on their blinkers and are looking straight-ahead towards China. Even though they are refraining from accusing China directly. This suspicion is digging its root deep within since the list of the suspected foreign states is not very long. According to the Australian prime minister, Mr. Scott Morrison, a sophisticated state actor is responsible for this malicious attempt.
The whole situation is extremely concerning since there have been a few incidents in the past that raise questions at the integrity of cyber-security in Australia. In 2011, the email of then prime minister, Julia Gillard’s was breached. It was estimated that thousands of mails were accessed from the system. In 2015 and 2016, attackers targeted the Australia’s weather and statistics agencies. US intelligence had alerted the Australian government at that time.
The attack on the Parliament’s network is an incident that cannot be neglected since hackers are becoming better and bigger with their targets. If the people up on the hierarchy are not safe enough, then how can an everyday internet user among us feel safe. The need of the hour is to weigh the graveness of the situations and to adopt appropriate measures in order to safeguard the rights of every user.
An effective approach will be taking a strict action against any leniency. Take the case of more than fifty thousand breaches in Europe in the last eight months. According to the General Data Protection Regulation Act, any organization that lagged behind in following the guidelines was penalized. Even an organization as big as Google was hit hard by the stringent guidelines of GDPR. Governing bodies need to institute ombudsmen who will enforce the laws sternly.
However, this does not give users a free hand. Users need to make sure that they are not leaving any room for attackers to invade their privacy. Today, when most of us are constantly leaning on internet, we need to take up some protective measures in order ensure cyber-security. For starters, one can install anti-virus in their phones. Make sure to upgrade your phones as soon an update is available. Stay updated about the cyber-threats that are prevalent in the community. However, these precautions can only act as a mere fencing. Users who are more vulnerable to such attacks need to take help from professionals. These experts work on building and strengthening up the barrier between user’s data and cyber criminals.
Kratikal is one such organization that has always worked with the aim of ensuring the protection of users’ data from falling into the filthy hands of malicious entities. With the state-of-the-art services and experts who have always kept up with times, we make sure that your data remains yours and no one else’s.