Instead, the details of the incident, as outlined in the Australian Cyber Security Centre's 2016 report, paint a picture of a much smaller incident.
In its report, the ABC's Chris Uhlmann wrote: "China is being blamed for a major cyber attack on the computers at the Bureau of Meteorology, which has compromised sensitive systems across the federal government."
The reality appears to be different. The ACSC report says the Australian Signals Directorate investigated the source of suspicious activity on two computers on the BoM's network and found remote access tools which are popular with "state-sponsored cyber adversaries".
In a bid to further hype up things, Uhlmann added: "In the event of a conflict, compromising Australia's ability to accurately forecast weather would affect the operation of military and commercial aircraft."
The ACSC report said the ASD discovered evidence of the attackers looking for and duplicating documents from the BoM network, adding that it was likely this information would have been stolen.
The ASD also found a password dumping utility that had been used by the intruders and discovered malicious use of at least one legitimate domain administrator account.
At least six further hosts that the attackers had tried to access were identified, including domain controllers and file servers.
"The presence of password dumping utilities and complete access by the adversary to domain controllers suggested all passwords on the Bureau’s network were already compromised at the time of the investigation," the ACSC report said.
Evidence was also found suggesting the use of network scanning and time-stamp modification tools, used to analyse the network architecture and assist in hiding the attackers' tools on hosts.
While the ACSC attributed the primary compromise to a foreign intelligence service, it said security controls in place were insufficient to protect the network from more common threats associated with cybercrime.
"CryptoLocker ransomware found on the network represented the most significant threat to the Bureau’s data retention and continuity of operations."
The report said the implementation of security controls outlined in ASD’s Strategies to Mitigate Targeted Cyber Intrusions publication would greatly improve the BoM's corporate network security.
The full ACSC report is available here.