Australia’s leading foreign affairs think tank has been the subject of at least two cyber attacks from China, in an apparent effort to view its dealings with the federal government and foreign dignitaries.
The attacks on the Lowy Institute mirrored a Chinese campaign against think tanks in the United States, in which hackers tried to view correspondence as well as information of people visiting its website.
The think tank has boosted its security controls considerably since the first attack, Fairfax Media reported on Tuesday.
The Lowy Institute was founded in April 2003 by Frank Lowy “to conduct original, policy-relevant research about international political, strategic and economic issues from an Australian perspective”, its website says. It is based in Sydney.
Several US think tankers are affiliated with Lowy, including Dr. Michael Green and Bonnie Glaser of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), and Thomas Wright of the Brookings Institution.
Jake Sullivan, who served as senior policy adviser on Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign and, during the Obama Administration, as national security adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, is listed as a 2017 Telstra Distinguished International Fellow at Lowy.
Every major think tank in the United States has been hit with cyber attacks over the past few years, and many major think tanks outside of the US have also been targets.