ASIO headquarters hacked

Blueprints of ASIO’s new headquarters have been hacked

ASIO headquarters hacked

The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, better known by its acronym ASIO, has been building new headquarters. The project was announced in 2007, with staff to move into the building in December 2012. The current cost of the project is $631 million – a $171 million increase on the original budget.

It has now come to light that one of the reasons for delaying the use of the facility is that its security has been compromised. Before ASIO could even move into its new headquarters, a cyber-attack was mounted on one of the contractors involved in building the facility.

According to a report by ABC TV’s Four Corners, during the attack blueprints of floor plans, communications cabling, server locations and security systems were all stolen. These documents were traced back to a server in China, from where it is assumed the attack originated. The new facility will now not open until later this year.

Attacks on the departments of defence, prime minister and cabinet, foreign affairs and trade (home of Australia’s overseas intelligence agency ASIS) and tourism were also reported during the program, although there was no detail given as to what information had been taken when these departments were hacked.

These hacking incidents have reopened the debate over whether the Government should implement mandatory disclosure laws if an organisation has a data breach.

During the program a source disclosed that a Chinese foreign intelligence agency was behind the attacks, although this has not been confirmed by any government sources.

Read more about ASIO’s headquarters being hacked on the PerthNow website. 

 

Time for a name change

Is it really appropriate to continue to call yourselves a ‘security intelligence organisation’ after an event such as this?

ASIO is the equivalent of the United States Federal Bureau of Intelligence (FBI). It collects intelligence about potential threats within Australia. The Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) is similar to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), in that its focus is on international threats to Australia’s security.

The allegation that China was involved in this attack comes just weeks after the Government softened its stance towards China, claiming in May’s Defence White Paper that it no longer saw the rising superpower as a threat.

To be fair, this is not a case of ‘only in Australia’. Approximately 40 years ago the Americans had to completely rebuild the interior of their embassy in Moscow, and the British have had to do the same to several buildings in London over the years.

According to Des Ball, from the Australian National University’s Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, ASIO doesn’t have a lot of options at this point. “With construction nearly completed you have two options. One is to accept it and practice utmost sensitivity even within your own headquarters. The other… is to rip the whole insides out and start again.”

Still, it seems ludicrous that ASIO, the budget for which has tripled since the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers in the USA, has had the security of its own top-secret headquarters breached before it could even move into the building. If this is the best that one of our top intelligence agencies can do, I really do worry about the future of Australia’s intelligence, security and defence.

This is also reportedly not the first time that China has mounted a state-funded intelligence attack against Australia. With our security intelligence organisations on the back foot and our Government making friends with those who are allegedly attacking us, are you worried about the consequences?

Does this make you feel unsafe? Or is it just another case of the Government wasting money on a sub-par department?





    COMMENTS

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    jim&music
    28th May 2013
    12:52pm
    Security Intelligence= Oxymoron
    Rachel Tyler Jones
    28th May 2013
    1:21pm
    Note from the moderator: Phar's comment has been removed from this article
    oswald bruggemans
    28th May 2013
    5:52pm
    wow! this said it all!
    oswald bruggemans
    28th May 2013
    5:54pm
    Guys our intelligence in Australia is not so intelligent at all, in fact I go as far as saying there a liability to our national security, for example I informed them of my concern , as to incitement by one of our departments conduct , as to potential consequential affects , so they kicked my ass for it . and threatened me with detainment if I disclose such information publicly in South Australia , today they even hold my personal belongings to ransom in a attempted to control me , I have reports they even recruit so called oversees uny students to spy in their own country’s with promises of residency in Australia ,
    MITZY
    28th May 2013
    1:45pm
    A friend of mine today indicated that Laurie Oakes, Journalist, indicated that Australia had done the same to China some time ago? Does anyone know if this is true?
    oswald bruggemans
    28th May 2013
    5:53pm
    Guys our intelligence in Australia is not so intelligent at all, in fact I go as far as saying there a liability to our national security, for example I informed them of my concern , as to incitement by one of our departments conduct , as to potential consequential affects , so they kicked my ass for it . and threatened me with detainment if I disclose such information publicly in South Australia , today they even hold my personal belongings to ransom in a attempted to control me , I have reports they even recruit so called oversees uny students to spy in their own country’s with promises of residency in Australia ,
    azpers
    28th May 2013
    1:56pm
    So much for freedom of speech! Rachel, my dear, the majority of adult Australians are racist. They don't have the balls to admit it. Your favourite word, no doubt, is appease. Let us all appease, irrespective what is done to us. Anybody with any knowledge of history will remember what happened when appeasement was used to cover grovelling.

    Phar Ke-nell
    niemakawa
    28th May 2013
    2:06pm
    Are you one of the "Majority:? Nothing wrong in having an opinion about different races, don't have to like them all. Too much politically correct mumbo jumbo these days. Call a spade a spade, that's my view.
    jim&music
    28th May 2013
    2:17pm
    I think that there is a difference between free speech and outright racism. If everyone carried on like you Phar, we would have total anarchy. Yes, some people may nod their heads in agreement with one or two of your points, but don't assume the right to call us all racist. The majority of adult Australians would step away from someone like you espousing the bile of your first posting.
    Not a very original name either Phar. But what else could we expect?
    niemakawa
    28th May 2013
    2:01pm
    What a surprise!

    28th May 2013
    4:14pm
    This reminds me of an episode of "Yes Minister" where Sir Humphrey points out the if you want to know what is really going on in the british goverment you should ask the russians as they are always the first to know.

    The Ship of state is the only ship that depends on leaks to stay afloat.

    Seriously it can been argued that the real reason for having intellegence services is so each goverment knows exactly what every other goverment is doing. The less real secrets there are the less chance of a misunderstanding.

    Also It would have been far worst if they found out about the problem a few years after they moved, in which case they might have had a real problem.
    The problem is probably more to do with the goverment tendering process than ASIO's procedures. If I remenber right tendering processes are open to prevent corruption so its not hard for someone to find out who bidded, who got the contract and target their computer systems. You can not expect a private construction company to have high security and still be able to operate.

    The last place you should keep real secrets is the build you tell everybody your keeping your real secrets in.
    as the old saying goes The max number people who can succesfully keep a secret is 2 and then only if one of them is dead.

    This is just SNAFU.
    RichF
    28th May 2013
    5:22pm
    Just knock out the word Intelligence and replace it with DIS.
    alfie
    28th May 2013
    5:32pm
    We are being slowly invaded from within...check the families with the most children.
    Asio can't see the tip of its nose...the problem is already within us .. check it out.
    oswald bruggemans
    28th May 2013
    5:56pm
    Guys our intelligence in Australia is not so intelligent at all, in fact I go as far as saying there a liability to our national security, for example I informed them of my concern , as to incitement by one of our departments conduct , as to potential consequential affects , so they kicked my ass for it . and threatened me with detainment if I disclose such information publicly in South Australia , today they even hold my personal belongings to ransom in a attempted to control me , I have reports they even recruit so called oversees uny students to spy in their own country’s with promises of residency in Australia ,

    A corrupt police state next is dictatorship.
    oswald bruggemans
    28th May 2013
    5:46pm
    Guys our intelligence in Australia is not so intelligent at all, in fact I go as far as saying there a liability to our national security, for example I informed them of my concern , as to incitement by one of our departments conduct , as to potential consequential affects , so they kicked my ass for it . and threatened me with detainment if I disclose such information publicly in South Australia , today they even hold my personal belongings to ransom in a attempted to control me , I have reports they even recruit so called oversees uny students to spy in their own country’s with promises of residency in Australia ,

    28th May 2013
    7:47pm
    Excuse me for being so cynical but wasn't ASIOs budget cut!!!!!

    Perfect way to stick it to the government & force budget increases is to rout a hack through Chinese IP and remove your own security plans!

    China is a good pick because they are not an aggressive nation & don't represent a huge threat but enough to make the govt behave.

    This sort of thing has been done in other nations (USA etc) so I can't see why our ASIO shouldn't try & do the same thing - they are a power unto themselves ..... Which is not good.

    Told you I was cynical!!!
    Paddles
    28th May 2013
    10:13pm
    You didn't need to tell us!!!!
    Twyla
    28th May 2013
    7:51pm
    oswald,
    "I have reports they even recruit so called oversees uny students to spy in their own country’s with promises of residency in Australia ,"

    This would not be a practice specific only to Australia. Every country recruit foreign operatives though wheeling and dealing.

    It is difficult to know the circumstances as to your run-in with ASIO. Perhaps they were already aware of the situation, keeping close tabs and didn't want this public. I doubt if anyone has a pleasant "relationship" with security.
    Flindersbar
    28th May 2013
    7:56pm
    Hi ASIO have cracked the safe cross code.
    Twyla
    28th May 2013
    7:58pm
    Mussitate,
    Not only ASIO would work an angle to force budget increases. This occurs right across the board.

    At the height of the cold war, the US published pro-communist journals ... and just waited for the listings of subscribers.
    Anonymous
    28th May 2013
    11:38pm
    Hi there Twila

    Agree. What our governments and their secret services do in OUR name is becoming rather sickening.

    No wonder they hate Julian Assange and Wikileaks with a vengeance....... their dirty, disgusting deeds are being revealed.

    How gutsy and brave is Julian Assange and all those wonderful human beings that are whistleblowers....really, really amazing people!

    Without Open and Accountable governments, we have NO DEMOCRACY - we need to know who is pulling our politicians strings and how much is going into their coffers for doing what they are told by powerful corporations.

    George Orwell's 1984 was dated just a bit too early and it is not just the government that is the problem, as in his book. In OUR current and real scenario, it is the CORPORATIONS behind the governments that control us, through their very own propaganda media and puppet politicians who are desperate to get elected.

    Now where did all that come from.......

    Let's just stick to Open and Accountable governments (to ensure no powerful interests interfere with our democracy) for now and the full support by society for those wonderful whistleblowers and those like Julian Assange who provide an outlet (Wikileaks) for their information.
    acatch4u
    29th May 2013
    4:01pm
    After ASIO vacated a previously occupied building in Canberra, the new occupants were advised the building was bugged.
    wally
    29th May 2013
    11:28pm
    Espionage and spying are human nature. From sneaking a peek at someone else's cards in a game of Old Maid to 21st Century electronic surveillance. This extends to international spying today. Even countries "friendly" to each other spy on each other. Why? They think that there might be traitors and "moles" operating in friendly intelligence organisations. At least that is what they claim. After all, Britain was betrayed in the '40's and 50's to the Soviets by a couple of trusted intelligence operators named Burgess and McClean. They fled to Russia and left British Intelligence in turmoil. So it is no surprise that every one spies on everyone else. Paranoid? "Fraid so. but in the bad old world we live in, it is a necessary evil and a fact of life. Of course the intelligence boffins have to sort out the "gold from the dross" in the mass of information their intelligence sources present for their inspection, and they do not always get it right. World War 2 history is full of instances where intelligence reports were disregarded. Operation Barbarossa (Hitler's invasion of Russia) and Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor are but 2 examples of misjudgement of intelligence. So yes, all governments spy on every other government, and on people and associations of people, for the "defence" of their people and the well being of the government. This is called "In National Interest" and here endeth the lesson.


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