Manage episode 242187642 series 2098282
Citing five sources with knowledge of the matter, Reuters reports the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) determined China's Ministry of State Security was behind the attack.
In the immediate aftermath back in March, China slammed suggestions it had been involved.
"One should present abundant evidence when investigating and determining the nature of a cyberspace activity, instead of making baseless speculations and firing indiscriminate shots at others," Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shaung said.
"Irresponsible reports, accusations, pressurising and sanctions will only heighten tensions and confrontation in cyberspace and poison the atmosphere for cooperation."
China's response to Reuters today struck much the same tone.
"When investigating and determining the nature of online incidents there must be full proof of the facts, otherwise it's just creating rumours and smearing others, pinning labels on people indiscriminately. We would like to stress that China is also a victim of internet attacks," it said.
"China hopes that Australia can meet China halfway, and do more to benefit mutual trust and cooperation between the two countries."
The ASD's report recommended keeping its findings secret to avoid disrupting relations with China, which is Australia's largest trade partner.
Officials felt there was a "very real prospect of damaging the economy" if the government were to accuse China publicly.
Today's story comes amid a broader debate about Chinese influence in Australia. Last week, Liberal MP Gladys Liu faced tough questions on the matter after a trainwreck interview, during which she refused to directly criticise China.