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Australia suspects China or Russia of cyber attack on lawmakers

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A cyber attack on Australian lawmakers that breached the networks of major political parties was probably carried out by a foreign government, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday, but did not name any suspects.

As Australia heads for an election due by May, lawmakers were told this month told to urgently change their passwords after the cyber intelligence agency detected an attack on the national parliament’s computer network.

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The hackers breached the networks of major political parties, Morrison said, as he issued an initial assessment by investigators.

“Our cyber experts believe that a sophisticated state actor is responsible for this malicious activity,” he told parliament.

“We also became aware that the networks of some political parties, Liberal, Labor and Nationals have also been affected.”

Morrison did not reveal what information was accessed, but he said there was no evidence of election interference.

Investors are still securing local networks, said Alastair MacGibbon, head of the Australian Cyber Security Centre, the government department responsible for online security.

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“Our political institutions represent high-value targets,” MacGibbon told reporters in the capital, Canberra.

“We will continue to work with our friends and colleagues, both here and overseas, to work out who is behind it and hopefully their intent.”

Analysts have said China, Russia and Iran were the most likely culprits.

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“When you consider motivation, you would have to say that China is the leading suspect, while you wouldn’t rule out Russia either,” said Fergus Hanson, head of the International Cyber Policy Centre at think-tank the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

“It is the honey pot of juicy political gossip that has been hoovered up. Emails showing everything from the dirty laundry of internal fights through to who supported a policy could be on display.”

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Ties with China have deteriorated since 2017, after Canberra accused Beijing of meddling in its domestic affairs. Both countries have since sought to mend relations, but Australia remains wary of China.

Tension rose this month after Australia rescinded the visa of a prominent Chinese businessman, just months after barring Chinese telecoms giant Huawei Technologies from supplying equipment to its 5G broadband network.

Officers of Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency covertly monitored computers of U.S. Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and campaign committees, and stole large amounts of data, U.S. investigators have concluded.

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Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Clarence Fernandez


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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Matt Gaetz insists he wasn’t paying ‘much attention’ as he got burned during hearing – but video shows otherwise

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Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) lied when he was speaking to CNN's Manu Raju that he wasn't paying much attention when Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) explained that members with DUIs probably shouldn't be attacking someone for drug usage.

“I didn’t pay much attention to it ...I’m focused on the president .. I don’t think Americans are hanging on a traffic incident I had a decade ago,” Gaetz told Raju.

https://twitter.com/mkraju/status/1205208299236450305

It wasn't factually accurate as videos show Gaetz paying quite a bit of attention and seemingly upset.

You can see the exchange in the video below:

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White House ‘shamed into submission’: Senate finally passes Armenian genocide bill despite Trump’s objections

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In a direct refutation of the repeated objections of the Trump administration this Thursday, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide.

As USA Today points out, the historic move will likely complicate US-Turkey relations since it acknowledges that Turkey, then known as the Ottoman Empire, carried out the systematic killings of 1.5 million Armenians from 1915 to 1923.

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‘It’s all distractions’: CNN panel obliterates GOP for totally refusing to discuss Trump’s conduct

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A CNN panel on Thursday obliterated House Republicans for once again completely ignoring the substance of allegations against President Donald Trump and instead throwing out numerous distractions intended to deflect attention from the president's actions.

"It's been distractions about the Bidens, it's been distractions about conspiracy theories about Ukraine's involvement in the election," said CNN legal analyst Carrie Cordero. "Yesterday, it was distractions about FISA and FISA so-called abuse. It was distractions from Congressman Gohmert reading calls from 1943! It's been all distractions and they won't wrestle with the actual conduct."

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