Leaked documents have revealed that Australia was among the countries targeted by the Chinese company i-Soon, although specific targets were not detailed. Geopolitical intelligence researcher Mei Danowski, who publishes “Natto Thoughts” on Substack, shared insights on the leaked documents with the Financial Review.

According to Danowski, the leaked documents showed that i-Soon often pitched to Chinese government agencies like the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) or State Security (MSS) by making educated guesses about their interests. The company would then offer compromised data or access to these agencies as samples for potential purchase.

The leaked documents also indicated that i-Soon focused heavily on government targets, with breaches reported in agencies such as Britain’s Home Office, India’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Thai Prime Minister’s Office, among others. Co-chief executive David Robinson of Internet 2.0 described the operation as vast and sophisticated, with strong commercial links to the Chinese government.

Opposition home affairs spokesman James Paterson expressed concern over Chinese government-backed hacking groups targeting Australia for espionage purposes. Meanwhile, the Australian government assured that electoral systems remained uncompromised, despite hackers targeting the UK.

The Australian government, in partnership with international allies, condemned the actions of China state-affiliated hacking group APT31, which was believed to be responsible for targeting UK parliamentarians’ emails. Cybersecurity experts noted that i-Soon appeared to have close ties with various APT organizations in China, collaborating on hacking activities.

The Australian government’s response to the hacking incident drew criticism, with calls for sanctions on Chinese individuals involved in the attacks. Foreign Minister Penny Wong and Cyber Security Minister Clare O’Neil stressed the need for responsible state behavior in cyberspace and reiterated support for international efforts to uphold cybersecurity norms.

Opposition lawmakers urged the government to consider sanctioning APT31 front group Wuhan XRZ and Chinese nationals linked to the attacks as a show of solidarity with international partners. The government faced pressure to prioritize defending national interests over preserving bilateral relations with China.


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