Morrison addressed a media conference on Friday morning and said the attack had been carried out by an actor with sophisticated abilities.
"Australian organisations are currently being targeted by a sophisticated state-based cyber actor," he said.
Why announce a cyber attack by a state controlled entity without detail of by whom and of its impact and significance? Weren’t these already happening? Is this much more significant? Without detail reasonable to wonder whether announcement was just another distraction?— John Hewson (@JohnRHewson) June 19, 2020
"This activity is targeting Australian organisations across a range of sectors, including all levels of government, industry, political organisations, education, health, essential service providers, and operators of other critical infrastructure."
Morrison also said he spoken to the Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese and provided him information about the incident.
"The Australian government is not making any attributions on the matter," he said.
"The threshold for attribution is very high. What I can confirm with confidence is that these are the actions of a state-based operator with significant capabilities."
If you want chapter and verse on how Australia and the other 5 Eyes members are the world's most malignant cyber actors, here you go: https://t.co/wyBPqsEMrx— Bernard Keane (@BernardKeane) June 18, 2020
In response to a questioner who said that the media would start speculating that it was China that was behind the attacks, Morrison said he could not prevent the media doing this. But he said he was providing as much information as he could at the time.
Joining him at Friday's briefing was Defence Minister Linda Reynolds who provided general comments about the incident.
The last time Australia was hit by a major cyber attack was in February last year when an attack on Federal Parliament was made public.