Melbourne, Apr 3 (ANI): Australian premier Kevin Rudd’s prime ministerial email and mobile phone communications have been repeatedly targeted by Chinese spies directly.
Rudd and his travelling party were under constant cyber attack during his latest trip to China, in August last year, with authorities trying to access the laptop computers and mobile phones used by them, The Australian reported.
The blatant nature of Beijing’s electronic espionage is understood to have alarmed the Rudd Government and led to a further tightening of communications security procedures for senior government figures travelling to China.
Intelligence sources said Beijing had made repeated attempts to break into government and business IT networks, as well as foreign embassies based in Canberra.
Last week, the Government blocked Chinese-owned Minmetals from acquiring the Prominent Hill mine in South Australia as part of its 2.6 billion dollars bid for OZ Minerals, citing national security concerns because of its proximity to the Woomera weapons testing range.
Australian officials travelling to China are routinely warned of the need for strict communications security, including the notion that all mobile communications are likely to be monitored.
Officials say the Prime Minister, an inveterate text messager, has a complete understanding of the scale and nature of China’s cyber offensive, which is global in scale.
A spokeswoman for the Prime Minister said last night the office did not comment on security arrangements involving prime ministerial visits overseas.
The disclosures come as Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon continues to be embroiled in controversy over free trips to China paid for by his Chinese-Australian businesswoman friend Helen Liu.
ASIO has bolstered its counter-espionage effort in Australia in recent years, with a sharp focus on Chinese intelligence-gathering involving Australia.
Australian government defence and security agencies are also a prime target for Beijing’s cyber espionage because of the closeness of the US alliance and the extremely close defence partnership with Washington. (ANI)