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May 28, 2013

Report: Chinese Hackers Steal Australian Spy HQ Blueprints

by VOA News

An Australian broadcaster said Chinese hackers have stolen the blueprints of a new, state-of-the-art spy agency headquarters being built in Canberra.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation said the theft was traced to a computer server in China. It says the building plans show detailed information on server locations, security systems and communications cables.

Experts say, if confirmed, the theft will make it easier for Chinese hackers to spy on the activities in the $608 million Australian Security Intelligence Organization building.

The paper, which did not name its sources, says the information was obtained through a cyber attack on a building contractor. It did not say when the alleged attack occurred.

When asked about the report, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard called the story "inaccurate" and "unsubstantiated," but would not comment further.

"There are a number of unsubstantiated allegations of hacking in the 'Four Corners' report. As the attorney general has stated, neither he or the director-general of ASIO intend to comment further on these inaccurate reports, in accordance with the long-standing practice of both sides of politics not to comment on very specific intelligence matters."

Foreign Minister Bob Carr also said he could not comment on matters of national security. But he insisted the report will have "absolutely no implications" for Australia's cooperation with China, its largest trading partner.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hong Lei called ABC's report "groundless," insisting there is no evidence to link China to the alleged attack.

The Greens party, a small but influential group in parliament, has demanded an inquiry into the incident, calling it a "security blunder of epic proportions."

The massive spy headquarters in Canberra is nearing completion, but had already experienced delays and had exceeded its budget in recent months. Some say the alleged security breach could further delay its opening.