Federal parliament was just hacked

The new security fence outside Parliament House

Officials declined to comment on the nature of the cyber security breach, but said there was no evidence that data had been accessed.

The Australian Signals Directorate is now taking steps to secure the parliament's computer network.

Parliamentarians and their staff have been forced to reset passwords after an apparent malicious attack against the parliamentary computing network overnight.

Hackers have breached the Australian Parliament's network, although investigators say they have found no evidence that attackers stole any data.

Security industry sources told AAP it was possible China could be the source of the latest breach.

Smith and Ryan also said they had no evidence that the incident represents an attempt to sway the upcoming election, due in three months time, or to disrupt the electoral or political process.

"If you look at what goes on in Parliament House, you've got politicians, you've got staffers, you've got government departments that are moving in and out of the organisation and a lot of that is through electronic means", adjunct professor Nigel Phair, from the University of Canberra, said.

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China was responsible for previous hacks on Australian government systems, including a similar breach of the Federal Parliament's computer network in 2011.

"At this early stage our immediate focus is on securing the network and protecting its users", the ASD spokesperson said.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that no governmental departments or agencies had been targeted, but he did not provide any further detail. An investigation by Parliament blamed users' poor password choices for the breaches (see: Parliament's Email Practices Probed by Privacy Watchdog). "Proper and accurate attribution of a cyber incident takes time".

However, Labor politicians and staff have said access to their emails had been intermittent.

"I've had some briefings on it".

A joint media release from house of representatives speaker, Tony Smith, and president of the senate, Scott Ryan, confirmed the attack, revealing all users of the parliamentary computer network - the system used by MPs, senators and their staff - have been required to change their passwords.

Mr Shorten described the breach as a "wake up call", saying while Parliament had the resources to respond to a cyber attack, many small and medium-sized businesses did not.

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