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An Australian MP has become the centre of a hacking scandal following accusations that computers in his office were used to hack into the PCs of rival politicians in the New South Wales Parliament.

Labor MLC Tony Kelly, who denies any personal involvement in the affair, has confirmed that one of his office PCs has been handed over to police, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

The suspect PC is thought to have been used to gain unauthorised access to sensitive policy files belonging to rival Liberal MLC Charlie Lynn.

Meanwhile staff working for Lee Rhiannon, a Green member of the state parliament, have informed police that they saw a "mysterious" message on their machines indicating files were "being copied as they watched".

Sounds to us that this is more likely to be misunderstanding of how computers work as an eye-witness observation of hacking.

Be that as it may, Government bodies in Sydney are taking the allegations very seriously.

The New South Wales Police Commissioner, Peter Ryan, said police began an inquiry into the affair last Friday, after a tip-off from one of the parliament's system administrators that something was awry. Kelly, who taught computers in the 1970s, has issued a statement saying it was his staff who tipped off the parliament sysadmins.

Various members of the Great and the Good in the New South legislature are calling for a full audit of all parliamentary computers. And they are fretting about the security of their email and diary management system.

A little premature, perhaps? First, the police have to establish whether any hacking actually took place. ®

External links

Sydney Morning Herald: Politicians' secret files raided by hacker

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