A supercomputer at the Australian Government-based Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) is believed to have been breached by China. Multiple officials have confirmed the attack to Australia's ABC News.
The compromised system is linked to other government departments, including an office of the country's Department of Defence. However, no detailed information was given on the extent of the breach.
Governments worldwide face routine attempted attacks on a daily basis, but this breach appears to be an exception. It has been described as "massive" with one unnamed Australian official directly placing blame saying, "it's China".
A spokesperson for the Australia's Prime Minister avoided speaking directly about the attack, saying the government doesn't comment on specific incidents:
"The Government's aware of a press report that the Bureau (BoM) has been the subject of a cyber attack.
The Government takes any cyber attacks seriously and is currently reviewing its cyber security policy."
Similarly, BoM said it remains "fully operational", though it did not deny the attack when asked.
BoM provides to many government agencies and the public a wide range of data including: weather and climate forecasting, tsunami warnings, tide predictions, water resources and space conditions. These services are considered critical, with one official saying the effects are serious and that "it could take years and cost hundreds of millions of dollars to fix".
The latest breach appears to be in a string of attacks by Chinese hackers against systems worldwide. One of the last major attacks occurred last June, when hackers gained access to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
Source: ABC News (AU) | Image via Wikimedia