Cyber spy agency on high alert over hack

Original article by Ben Packham
The Australian – Page: 1 & 2 : 24-Dec-20

More than 18,000 companies and government agencies worldwide are believed to have been targeted by the SolarWinds cyber-attack. The Australian Cyber Security Centre is assessing whether the computer systems of any government departments and agencies have been compromised. The SolarWinds Orion software is used by federal agencies such as the Department of Defence, Home Affairs and Austrade. Sergei Shevchenko, the co-founder of cybersecurity firm Prevasio, says that even if SolarWinds clients have not been targeted, they should assume that they are vulnerable to second-stage attacks.

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AUSTRALIAN SIGNALS DIRECTORATE. AUSTRALIAN CYBER SECURITY CENTRE,AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF DEFENCE,AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF HOME AFFAIRS,AUSTRADE,PREVASIO

Spy charges for man tied to Communist Party

Original article by Ben Packham, Tessa Akerman, Remy Varga
The Australian – Page: 6 : 6-Nov-20

A 65-year-old Melbourne resident has become the first person to be charged under the federal government’s foreign interference laws. Di Sanh Duong, who is also known as Sunny Duong, faces up to 10 years’ jail if he is convicted under laws that were introduced in 2018. Duong is the president of Oceania Federation of Chinese Associations, and he is a member of several organisations that are believed to have links to the Chinese Communist Party.

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OCEANIA FEDERATION OF CHINESE ASSOCIATIONS, COMMUNIST PARTY (CHINA)

ASIO foils plot to infiltrate Australian government

Original article by Anthony Galloway
The Age – Page: Online : 16-Oct-20

ASIO has stated it uncovered and foiled a plot that could have seen classified information about Australia’s intelligence services fall into the hands of a foreign government. ASIO revealed details of the plot in its latest annual report, stating that the plot was detected and disrupted in 2020. ASIO director-general Mike Burgess says there are currently more foreign spies and their proxies in Australia than there were "at the height of the cold war", while he says right-wing extremists are have become "more organised, sophisticated, ideological and active" than in previous years.

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AUSTRALIAN SECURITY INTELLIGENCE ORGANISATION

China’s great science swindle

Original article by Sharri Markson, Kykar Loussikian
The Australian – Page: 1 & 6 : 24-Aug-20

Andrew Hastie has called for a parliamentary investigation into China’s Thousand Talents Plan. The research scheme sees Australian scientists offered good second salaries and attractive perks, but requires any inventions developed under it to be patented in China and for the scientists to abide by Chinese law. FBI director Christopher Wray has described the Thousand Talents Plan as "economic espionage" and a threat to national security, while Hastie, chair of federal parliament’s joint ­intelligence committee, says the revelations regarding the scheme show how Australian research and intellectual property is being "plundered by the CCP".

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UNITED STATES. FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION

Tighter test for foreign investors

Original article by Phillip Coorey
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 6 : 5-Jun-20

The federal government will announce a revamp of Australia’s foreign investment regime on 5 June; the government wants to close what it contends are ‘national security’ gaps in the current rules. One of the changes will see the Foreign Investment Review Board apply a National Security Test to assets defined as a ‘sensitive national security business’; such assets include water, telecommunications and energy. The government intends to legislate the changes in July, with the intention of having them come into effect in January.

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AUSTRALIA. FOREIGN INVESTMENT REVIEW BOARD

Media regime just a way to keep bad laws

Original article by Richard Ferguson, Leo Shanahan
The Weekend Australian – Page: 7 : 29-Feb-20

The Australian Federal Police and the Department of Home Affairs have used a joint submission to the parliamentary joint committee on intelligence and security to propose a ‘notice to produce’ regime for journalists. This would require an independent body to assess requests from security agencies for access to documents and communications between journalists and their confidential sources. The proposal has been criticised by News Corp Australia’s executive chairman Michael Miller, while Labor contends that journalists would still be at risk from prosecution and jail.

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AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF HOME AFFAIRS, AUSTRALIA. PARLIAMENTARY JOINT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY, NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, NEWS CORPORATION – ASX NWS, AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION

PM won’t identify foreign spy ring

Original article by Andrew Tillett
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 4 : 26-Feb-20

ASIO’s director-general Mike Burgess has declined to identify any countries behind a recently-exposed foreign spy ring. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has also refused to do so, citing national interest concerns. However, Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick says nations such as the US and Canada have "called out" the countries that are involved in espionage and foreign influence. He has suggested that China is the "most likely culprit".

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AUSTRALIAN SECURITY INTELLIGENCE ORGANISATION, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, CENTRE ALLIANCE

Hastie helped spy find an ASIO haven

Original article by Ben Packham
The Australian – Page: 1 & 2 : 29-Nov-19

Liberal MP Andrew Hastie has been linked to Wang Liqiang, who claims to have been a Chinese spy and is now seeking asylum in Australia. It has been revealed that Hastie was contacted by an associate of Wang via an encrypted telephone app in early October. Hastie, who chairs the parliamentary joint committee on intelligence and security, then contacted ASIO about Wang’s allegations regarding Chinese intelligence operations in Australia. The Chinese government maintains that Wang is a fraudster rather than a spy.

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LIBERAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN SECURITY INTELLIGENCE ORGANISATION, AUSTRALIAN STRATEGIC POLICY INSTITUTE LIMITED

Spy claim for asylum draws wary response

Original article by Phillip Coorey, Andrew Tillett
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 4 : 26-Nov-19

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says allegations about China’s attempts to interfere in federal politics are "deeply disturbing and troubling". However, he has stressed the need to wait until ASIO concludes an investigation into the claims that Chinese intelligence services offered to fund the federal election campaign of Melbourne car dealer Bo Zhao. A separate claim by Wang Liqiang about Chinese interference in federal politics is also under scrutiny. China has refuted his claim to have been a member of its military intelligence service. Wang is seeking asylum in Australia.

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AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET, AUSTRALIAN SECURITY INTELLIGENCE ORGANISATION, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF HOME AFFAIRS

Trust media on national security: Ita

Original article by Sean Parnell
The Australian – Page: 5 : 5-Nov-19

ABC chair Ita Buttrose has urged Australians to support the media industry’s ‘Your Right to Know’ campaign. She has also stressed that the media can be trusted with regard to national security. Buttrose has called for legislative action to protect whistleblowers and public interest journalism, as well as an overhaul of Freedom of Information laws.

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AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, COMMITTEE FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE, NEWS CORP AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, NEWS CORPORATION – ASX NWS