The news comes via the Australian Financial Review, which reported that Australia's parliamentary network was hacked in March 2011, probably by Chinese spies, they had unfettered access to emails, possibly for up to a year.
The AFR cited Australian intelligence and parliamentary sources, alleging China gained access to contact details, and access to all correspondence sent using the parliamentary system.
“It was like an open-cut mine,” one source told the newspaper.
"They had access to everything.”
The report said China got access to all emails, contact databases and other documents stored on Parliament’s computers, and that most likely, this information would be used to map a web of relationships in Australian domestic politics, including politicians’ interactions with lobbyists.
Politicians and their electorate officers use the system to send unclassified communications, meaning the messages accessed would've been mostly mundane memos, rather than state secrets.
As we reported last year Chinese hackers were also caught red handed hacking into a fake US water system - a decoy set up by a researcher with Trend Micro.
The hack was carried out by the APT1 group, which security firm Mandiant claims is part of China's army.
"You would think that Comment Crew wouldn’t come after a local water authority", Wilhoit told the MIT Review.
"I actually watched the attacker interface with the machine. It was 100% clear they knew what they were doing."