Australia’s central bank, Reserve Bank of Australia, has said that “on occasion,” it has been a target of cyber attacks.
In response to media reports, RBA, in a statement, said it has “comprehensive security arrangements in place” that have helped isolate these attacks and ensured that viruses have not been spread across the bank's network or systems.
It claims that at no point the alleged attacks "caused [RBA’s] data or information to be lost or its systems to be corrupted."
News of the attacks was first reported by the Australian Financial Review, which in a report, said that the central bank had been attacked by a Chinese-developed “malware” spy program that was seeking intelligence on sensitive G20 negotiations.
The AFR report cited incidents going as far back as 2011 relating to international events like the 2011 G20 Summit in France. Australia's involvement in such "high-profile" events like the G20 Summit, which has in the past tackled controversial trade issues such as the Chinese currency exchange rate, could be behind the alleged attacks, according to the report.
The AFR report also claimed that multiple computers within the RBA’s network had been compromised. In its statement, RBA assured that it takes cyber security and its potential consequences “extremely seriously.”
RBA added that as part of its safety efforts, it “routinely consults" with the Australian intelligence agency Defence Signals Directorate "and also draws on the expertise of specialist private firms." That is in addition to the ongoing rigorous testing of its IT systems and regular staff training on security-related matters, RBA added.
A number of recent media reports in the US have said that China is behind alleged cyber attacks on US agencies.
Separately, a senior Chinese official has called for international “rules of cooperation” on cyber espionage, claiming the country has been subject to an international smear campaign, according to a report in the New York Times.
The NYT cited Chinese Foreign Minister, Yang Jiechi, as saying, “Anyone who tries to fabricate or piece together a sensational story to serve a political motive will not be able to blacken the name of others nor whitewash themselves.” Jiechi was speaking at the National People’s Congress in Shanghai.
Australia, for its part, has recently stepped up efforts to address increasing cyber security-related incidents.
In a bid to encourage cyber security, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, has stressed its importance and the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is coordinating a number of Safer Internet Day activities as part of its Cybersmart Program.