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Australian miners concerned over cyber attacks

31 may 2011, 10:33
Some of Australia's biggest resource companies are increasingly concerned by cyber attacks from China and other countries, AFP reports Monday.

Speaking at The Australian Deutsche Bank Business Leaders Forum, outgoing Woodside Petroleum chief executive Don Voelte said the group has been attacked "from everywhere", not just from China.

"Let's not focus this on the Chinese: I saw the number of attacks against our company over a time period," he said, according to The Australian newspaper.

"It comes from everywhere. It comes from eastern Europe; it comes from Russia. Just don't pick on the Chinese; it's everywhere."

Shell Australia chairman Ann Pickard agreed the attacks were a concern.

"I would say we're very careful in this particular area," she told the same forum.

"The attacks on companies... is pretty big, so we're all very careful in this space."

The comments follow Lockheed Martin, one of the world's largest defence contractors, saying on Sunday it was investigating the source of a major cyber attack against its information network.

In April, Prime Minister Julia Gillard's parliamentary computer and the foreign and defence ministers' machines were all suspected of being hacked, with China under suspicion.

Security experts cited by media at the time said they believed the hackers may have been looking for clues on government attitudes to major resource projects.

Australia is a key supplier of hard coking coal and iron ore to China and other parts of rapidly developing Asia.

Attorney-General Robert McClelland said the government took cyber threats seriously.

"The Australian government takes the issue of cyber security very seriously and is constantly strengthening cyber security measures," he said.

"Part of this includes engaging with major companies and critical infrastructure organisations to ensure they're aware of the extent of the threats, and have strong systems in place to deal with attacks."

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