Joint media release:

  • Senator James Paterson, Shadow Minister for Homes Affairs, Shadow Minister for Cyber Security


The Australian Government’s decision to join with our Five Eyes partners to publicly attribute malicious cyber activity to the People’s Republic of China is welcome.


The advisory, issued this morning by the Australian Cyber Security Centre, has disclosed that one of the China-state sponsored cyber actor’s primary tactics, techniques and procedures is ‘living off the land’ which uses built-in network administration tools to perform their objectives which allows the actor to evade detection by blending in with normal Windows system and network activities.


It is particularly egregious to target civilian infrastructure, and the Albanese Government should take every action necessary to protect Australia’s critical networks through the world-leading critical infrastructure reforms enacted by the previous government.


If this malign cyber activity is happening in America, it is almost certainly happening in Australia too.


Cyber experts testifying before the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security in 2021 stated that adversarial state actors are likely already pre-positioned on Australia’s critical infrastructure networks to disable or disrupt them in the prelude to regional conflict.


While public attribution is important, there are other tools at the Government’s disposal that could be used to deter this malign behaviour.


The Magnitsky sanctions regime allows the Australian Government to sanction individuals who engage in offensive cyber activity against Australia. This power is yet to be exercised by the Albanese government. Once again, the Opposition offers bipartisan support for them to do so.