Indonesia halts Australia drills as protesters call for ‘war’

Joint exercises halted as Indonesian hackers claim responsibility for cyber attacks on Australian Federal Police and Reserve Bank of Australia websites

Agence France-Presse in Jakarta


Anti-Australia protesters shout slogans while holding a placard, reading ‘expel Australian diplomatic members’, during a rally in front of the Australian embassy in Jakarta on Thursday. Photo: AFP

Indonesia’s military halted training with Australia as a decision to suspend co-operation over spying claims took effect, while angry demonstrators in Jakarta declared on Thursday they were “ready for war” with Canberra.

In the Australian capital, the scandal took an embarrassing twist for Prime Minister Tony Abbott when one of his party’s strategists described someone reported to be the Indonesian foreign minister as resembling “a 1970s Filipino porn star”.

Continue reading “Indonesia halts Australia drills as protesters call for ‘war’”

Has China hacked into Australia’s new spy HQ – before it’s even finished being built?

TV investigation claims important government departments were also hacked

James Legge, Agencies

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Australian officials have refused to confirm or deny a report that Chinese hackers stole blueprints for the country’s new spy agency headquarters.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation has reported that the plans for the new Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) HQ – which allegedly included the building’s cable and server layouts and security systems – had been illegally accessed by server in China, which had hacked a building contractor’s system.

The programme further alleged that the Prime Minster’s Office, the Defence Ministry and the Department of Foreign Affairs had been hacked, but did not identify the source of its information.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said: “China pays high attention to cybersecurity issues, and is firmly opposed to all forms of hacker attacks,” according to The Guardian.

He added: “Groundless accusations will not help solve this issue.”

The building, in Canberra, has so far cost 630 million Australian dollars (£401 million) from an original budget of 460 million dollars, and is nearly finished.

The Greens party – which the ruling Labour party needs to support its minority government – has called for an inquiry into the breach.

Des Ball, an Australian National University cybersecurity expert, said China could use the blueprints to bug the building.

Ball told the ABC that given the breach, ASIO would either have to operate with “utmost sensitivity” within the building or simply “rip the whole insides out and … start again.”

Foreign Minister Bob Carr did not comment directly on the claims, but said the government was “very alive” to cybersecurity threats and the allegations didn’t affect relations with China – the country’s biggest trading partner.

He said: “I won’t comment on whether the Chinese have done what is being alleged or not.

“I won’t comment on matters of intelligence and security for the obvious reason: we don’t want to share with the world and potential aggressors what we know about what they might be doing, and how they might be doing it.”

But he said the report had “no implications” for a strategic partnership. “We have enormous areas of co-operation with China,” he said.

Earlier this year, hackers from China were thought to be behind an attack on the Reserve Bank of Australia, according to the Australian Financial Review.

Attorney General Mark Dreyfus, the minister in charge of ASIO, also refused to confirm or deny the report. He later said the building did not need to be redesigned, and that the agency will move in this year.

“This building is a very secure, state-of-the-art facility,” he said, adding that the ABC report contained “unsubstantiated allegations.”

“I’m not going to comment on operational matters involving the Australian Security Intelligence Organization or any security matters,” he said.

Questioned about the alleged security breach in Parliament, Prime Minister Julia Gillard described the ABC report as “inaccurate” but refused to go into detail.

Calling for an inquiry into the building’s future, Greens leader Christine Milne said: “It is time that we had an independent inquiry into the whole sorry history of the ASIO building and the extent to which the current hacking has compromised its capacity to ever be the building and serve the purpose for which it was intended.”

Dreyfus didn’t immediately respond to the Greens’ call for an inquiry.–before-its-even-finished-being-built-8634291.html#


China’s One-Child Policy Affects Personality


China’s one-child policy has affected the personalities of a generation of only children

By Carrie Arnold  | Monday, May 20, 2013 |

asian boy, child playing, kids ball pit

In 1979 China instituted the one-child policy, which limited every family to just one offspring in a controversial attempt to reduce the country’s burgeoning population. The strictly enforced law had the desired effects: in 2011 researchers estimated that the policy prevented 400 million births. In a new study in Science, researchers find that it has also caused China’s so-called little emperors to be more pessimistic, neurotic and selfish than their peers who have siblings.

Psychologist Xin Meng of the Australian National University in Canberra and her colleagues recruited 421 Chinese young adults born between 1975 and 1983 from around Beijing for a series of surveys and tests that evaluated a variety of psychological traits, such as trustworthiness and optimism. Almost all the participants born after 1979 were only children compared with about one fifth of those born before 1979. The study participants born after the policy went into effect were found to be both less trusting and less trustworthy, less inclined to take risks, less conscientious and optimistic, and less competitive than those born a few years earlier.

“Because of the one-child policy, parents are less likely to teach their child to be imaginative, trusting and unselfish,” Meng says. Without siblings, she notes, the need to share may not be emphasized, which could help explain these findings.

Only children in other parts of the world, however, do not show such striking differences from their peers. Toni Falbo, a social psychologist at the University of Texas at Austin, who was not involved in the study, suggests that larger social forces in China also probably contributed to these results. “There’s a lot of pressure being placed on [Chinese] parents to make their kid the best possible because they only had one,” Falbo says. These types of pressures could harm anyone, even if they had siblings, she says.

Whatever its cause, the personality profile of China’s little emperors may be troubling to a nation hoping to continue its ascent in economic prosperity. The traits marred by the one-child policy, the study authors point out, are exactly those needed in leaders and entrepreneurs.