A former senior official at the Department of Defence has said that China’s ownership of critical infrastructure is putting Australia at risk of a devastating cyber-attack.
Writing for The Australian this week, Peter Jennings, a former deputy secretary at the Department of Defence said there is “increasing alarm” in national security circles about the extent of Chinese investment in our infrastructure.
“The key risk is the vulnerability of ports, power grids and gas pipelines to damage through cyber-attack…These attacks potentially could be done remotely or supported by ‘trusted insiders’ with hands-on access to key systems.”
Jennings added that in the event of a future dispute, China’s “increasingly nationalist and assertive” government has a clear interest in being able to sabotage Australian infrastructure, and that the Government has to take this into account before signing off any more deals.
These comments come just as the Treasurer is considering whether to allow a Chinese-state owned mining company to buy a massive stake in Newcastle Port.