Australia has officially attributed the recent SolarWinds cyber attack to Russia and has committed to holding it “to account” for it.
In a joint statement from Minister for Defence Peter Dutton and Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews, the Australian Government confirmed that the Russian state is “actively exploiting SolarWinds.”
“The Australian Government joins international partners to support the US statement of 15 April 2021 to hold Russia to account for its harmful cyber campaign against US Software firm, SolarWinds,” the statement read.
“In consultation with our partners, the Australian Government has determined that Russian state actors are actively exploiting SolarWinds and its supply chains.
“Over the past 12 months, Australia has witnessed Russia use malicious activity to undermine international stability, security and public safety. Australia condemns such behaviour.
“Russia’s campaign has affected thousands of computer systems worldwide. Australia acknowledges the high costs borne by the US private sector.
“Australia welcomes private sector and government responders’ efforts around the world to expose and mitigate this threat and uphold the international norms of responsible behaviour in cyberspace.”
Dutton and Andrews’ joint statement comes after US President Joe Biden signed an Executive Order overnight, declaring a national emergency to deal with the impending threat of foreign interference from Russia including – but not limited to – “malicious cyber-enabled activities.”
Not to be confused with a solar panelling company, SolarWinds is a major IT firm in the US that provides and maintains software for government organisations and major companies.
As a result of last year’s cyberattack, it is believed that sensitive information held by the US government regarding both the White House and the military was exposed.
At the time, SolarWinds suspected it had been tampered with in a “highly-sophisticated, targeted and manual supply chain attack by a nation-state.”
Although Russian hackers were immediately suspected when the story first broke via Reuters in December 2020, there was no official accusation put forth until last night.
In response to Biden’s statement, a Russian government spokeswoman warned that there would be consequences to the newly imposed sanctions.
“The United States is not ready to come to terms with the objective reality that there is a multipolar world that excludes American hegemony,” a Russian government spokeswoman said.
“We have repeatedly warned the United States about the consequences of its hostile steps, which dangerously increase the degree of confrontation between our countries.
“A response to sanctions is inevitable.”
Russia is yet to respond to the Australian Government’s statement.