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BREAKING: Federal parliament was just hacked

Parliament House in Canberra, Australia. (Getty)

Australian federal parliament’s computer network has been hacked.

House of representatives speaker Tony Smith and senate president Scott Ryan jointly released a statement confirming the attack and that the incident is under investigation.

“There is no evidence that any data has been accessed or taken at this time, however this will remain subject to ongoing investigation,” they said.

“The Department of Parliamentary Services and relevant agencies are working jointly to take the necessary steps to investigate the incident, while our immediate focus has been on security of the network and protecting data and users.”

As a precaution, all passwords have been reset and users forced to set new ones.

“This has occurred overnight and this morning,” Smith and Ryan said.

Although it was too early to name a suspect, they said it didn’t look like an attempt to disrupt the democratic system.

“We have no evidence that this is an attempt to influence the outcome of parliamentary processes or to disrupt or influence electoral or political processes.”

Just last year, the department of parliamentary services was allocated $9 million to set up a cybersecurity operations centre.

China has previously been blamed for hacks on the Bureau of Meteorology and thrown up as a suspect for the outage on the Census 2016 online system, but that theory was never confirmed.

In recent months, tension has escalated between China and western countries about the Asian giant’s intelligence activities.

The Australian government, along with the US, UK and New Zealand, in December condemned China for hacking western businesses, US Navy, NASA and US energy department to potentially steal intellectual property.

“As an international community, as Australia, we are now far more robust in the way that we will ‘name and shame’, and we will shine a light on activities that we think are unacceptable,” Australia’s ambassador for cyber affairs Tobias Feakin said at the time.

The US charged two Chinese nationals for the attacks.

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