ASD to brief political parties on hacking threat

In the wake of allegations that Russia sponsored the hacking of the Democratic National Committee in an attempt to influence the US election, the government will seek to brief Australian political parties on strengthening their information security.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the minister assisting the prime minister for cyber security, Dan Tehan will offer a briefing from the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) to leaders of Australian political parties.

“We have seen no indication whatsoever that anyone has sought to use cyber influence on our elections or on our electoral system, but obviously our democracy goes to who we are as Australians and we have to do everything we can to protect that,” Tehan told ABC Radio this morning

“The prime minister sees this issue as above politics and that is why he is calling this meeting of all other political parties so that they can get a briefing from our intelligence agencies about the threat and also get told about the mitigation that they can take to ensure that all their systems are secure.”

“We’ve seen what happened to the DNC,” Tehan said. “We’ve seen that there has been advice put forward that they didn’t have the proper protections put in place. We want to make sure that the political parties here are aware of the types of things that they need to be doing.”

Turnbull and Tehan were today briefed by the ASD on Australia’s “offensive and defensive cyber capabilities”.

“Threats like this from wherever they come are of great concern to our nation, to our government, to me as prime minister," Turnbull told a press conference after the tour of the ASD.

"We have to make sure we maintain the integrity of our political process and so we will, Dan and I, are ensuring that there will be a full briefing by our cyber experts to other political parties, other political leaders when parliament comes back.”

During the launch of Australia’s national cyber security strategy in April 2016, Turnbull acknowledged that the ASD possesses an “offensive cyber capability” that can be drawn upon when responding to attacks on the nation’s networks.

In July last year, the ASD launched a recruitment campaign to help boost the government’s offensive and defensive cyber capabilities.

The government recently began accepting proposals for a grants program aimed at boosting the cyber security capabilities of nations in the Indo-Pacific region.

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