New Zealand accuses China-backed hackers of cyberattacks on parliament

New Zealand has accused China of “malicious cyber activity” linked to Chinese state actors, who targeted its parliament in 2021.

The government “expressed concerns today about malicious cyber activity, attributed to groups sponsored by the Chinese Government,” New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Winston Peters said on Tuesday.

It comes one day after the U.S. and U.K. claimed China-linked hackers were behind a cyber espionage campaign that stole British voter data and targeted millions of individuals, including lawmakers, academics, journalists, and defense contractors.
Foreign interference of this nature is unacceptable, and we have urged China to refrain from such activity in future,” Peters said, adding that officials expressed their concerns over the targeting of democratic institutions in discussions with the Chinese ambassador.

“The use of cyber-enabled espionage operations to interfere with democratic institutions and processes anywhere is unacceptable,” Judith Collins, New Zealand’s minister for the communications security bureau, said in a separate statement.

New Zealand’s intelligence service, the National Cyber Security Centre, “completed a robust technical assessment following a compromise of the Parliamentary Counsel Office and the Parliamentary Service in 2021,” Collins said.

The activity has been attributed to a Chinese state-sponsored group, she added.

The Chinese Embassy in New Zealand did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Australia has also joined in condemning China’s alleged cyber attacks targeting U.K. democratic institutions and parliamentarians.

While Australia’s electoral systems were not compromised by the cyber campaigns that targeted the U.K., “the persistent targeting of democratic institutions and processes has implications for democratic and open societies like Australia,” said a statement from the minister of foreign affairs.


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