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ASIO still secure, says government

China denies scooping plans for new Oz spook HQ

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The Australian government has responded to accusations that its spy agency ASIO is vulnerable after building plans were apparently accessed when a contractor's network security was breached.

At the same time, communications vendor Codan has denied that its intellectual property has been compromised.

The accusations surfaced in the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's program Four Corners. As The Register reported yesterday, the documents compromised by attackers included floor plans, wiring diagrams, and server room locations.

The ASIO headquarters hasn't yet been completed, and is running behind time and over budget, leading to speculation that both the cost and delay are down to design changes to maintain security. The government has declined to respond to that speculation, but Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus insisted yesterday that the building remains secure.

The ABC now reports that Dreyfus told it “I conducted an inspection with the director-general of ASIO just last month, and I can assure everybody that this building is a very secure, state-of-the-art facility,” he said.

That report also states that the Chinese government denies any involvement in hacking.

A foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said the country opposes all forms of hacker attacks. “Though these reports seem solid, given that it is difficult to find the origin of such hacker attacks, I don't see where the real evidence is for reports like this.

“Groundless accusations will not help solve this issue,” Lei said.

Meanwhile, Codan, the communications supplier the program said had been compromised, has issued a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange stating that while it is a target of attempted intrusions of its networks, it “has no evidence that any intellectual property in either its metal detection or communications business has been obtained by unauthorised third parties”. ®

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