Some Australian government systems were shut down and the country’s Channel Nine TV station went off the air temporarily after cyber-attacks over the past three days. It is unclear if the incidents are connected.
Department of Parliamentary Services (DPS) systems, which are run by an external provider, were automatically taken offline at the weekend after in-built security monitoring software spotted what the Australian Financial Review reported as fairly obvious attempts to access them without permission.
Updates to emails, calendar notifications and contacts on smartphones and tablets were halted on 27 March and progressively restored during 29 March.
Assistant defence minister Andrew Hastie said: “The government is aware of an issue impacting the DPS IT system.”
Once detected the connection to government systems was cut immediately as a precaution, he added.
“The Australian Cyber Security Centre has been in contact with DPS and is providing support and continuing to monitor the situation … The government acted quickly, and we have the best minds in the world working to ensure Australia remains the most secure place to operate online.”
On 28 March a hack stopped Australia’s Channel Nine TV network airing several shows, including the six-hour live broadcast of Weekend Today.
The company said there was a cyber-attack on its systems and it is investigating if the incident is “criminal sabotage or the work of a foreign nation”.
The broadcaster’s online news site, 9news.com.au, was also affected.
“Our IT teams are working around the clock to fully restore our systems which have primarily affected our broadcast and corporate business units. Publishing and radio systems continue to be operational,” British broadcaster, the BBC, quoted the company as saying. Nine’s publications include The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age newspapers.
Staff have been told to work from home until further notice. Channel Nine broadcast its shows on 29 March.
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