Lawmakers Respond to News of Cyber Attack

May 8, 2024


On March 25, IPAC learned about a targeted attack from a Chinese state sponsored group through an unsealed indictment released by the United States Department of Justice. The indictment stated that the hacking group APT31 had sent “over 1000 emails to over 400 unique accounts associated with IPAC''. 

It became apparent subsequently that the politicians targeted had, for the most part, not been informed by their respective governments. Since confirming the identities of 124 politicians who were targeted, IPAC has sought to brief them. 

IPAC members have taken the following steps in response to secure a more robust approach to cyber security. 


18 Canadian parliamentarians, including Co-Chairs Garnett Genuis MP and John McKay MP, were targeted by the attack. In response, those targeted issued a joint statement with Member Judy Sgro MP, James Bezan MP, Stephanie Kusie MP, Tom Kmiec MP, and Sen. Marilou McPhedran demanding to know why they were not informed. Comments from Garnett Genuis MP and John McKay MP on CTV News can be viewed here.

Garnett Genuis MP, supported by Judy Sgro MP, sought to secure an urgent privilege debate in the House of Commons. Hansard. CBC


Co-Chairs Representative Els van Hoof and Representative Samuel Cogolati, together with members Hilde Vautmans MEP, Federal Deputy Representative Georges Dallemange, and former Belgium PM Guy Verhofstadt MEP, released a joint statement. Le Soir. Brussels Times. Politico. Comments from Representative Samuel Cogolati and Representative Georges Dallemange on LN24.

Subsequently, those targeted secured agreement from the leaders of all major parties in Belgium to “seize the Parliament” and initiate a civil suit with a view to lodging criminal proceedings DH Net. La Libre


Former Co-Chairs Simon O’Connor, and Louisa Wall were among the victims of the cyberattack in New Zealand, together with IPAC advisor and leading academic Anne-Marie Brady. The former Co-Chairs joined forces with current Co-Chairs Ingrid Leary MP and Joseph Mooney MP to press the government and security organs to provide assurances that no other MPs would be informed in future. New Zealand Herald, Stuff

Since the news broke, New Zealand MPs have held meetings with the government regarding the establishment of a standing committee on foreign influence and interference. Radio New Zealand. NZ Herald. Stuff. The Government Security and Communications Bureau has since announced a public inquiry into what happened. New Zealand Post


Senator Oliver Cadic expressed his concerns in the French Senate, stating that the attack was an act of cyber warfare. The Senator urged the French government to formally attribute these attacks to China, take serious countermeasures and to initiate a full investigation. Senat.

Those targeted held a press conference on Monday 6th May, demanding accountability from the French agencies for the lack of information regarding the attack. The conference coincided with Xi Jinping’s visit to Paris. Politico

Ahead of the European elections, François-Xavier Bellamy MEP warned that the APT31 attacks serve as a stark reminder that the threat of foreign interference will continue to plague political parties competing in the elections. France24


European Parliament Co-Chair Reinhard Bütikofer MEP and Member Engin Eroglu MEP revealed that they were not informed about the attack by the German authorities. The MEPs have now written to the presidents of the national parliaments of EU countries, and the European Parliament. They have specifically requested clarification and an investigation into the case. The pair also called for sanctions against APT31. 

Reinhard Bütikofer MEP expressed disappointment with the German authorities for withholding the intelligence from the victims. Bild. NH24. FOCUS.


16 MEPs led by Co-Chairs Miriam Lexmann MEP and Reinhard Bütikofer MEP wrote a letter addressing the Presidents of the EU's National Parliaments, and of the European Parliament, to call to the EU governments the following:

  • Confirm and formally attribute these attacks to APT31, as the United States and United Kingdom have already done
  • Coordinate and impose EU-wide targeted sanctions upon the APT31 hackers named in the United States Department of Justice Indictment which was unsealed on the 25th of March this year
  • Offer an assurance to parliamentarians that, in the event of a future state sponsored attack, they will bbe informed in a timely manner
  • Urgently and rapidly improve cyber security support for politicians and strengthen institutional resilience against interference from malign actors


Members Senator Enrico Borghi and Representative Roberto Giachetti issued a statement condemning the attacks as “extremely detrimental to the prerogatives and freedom of Italian MPs”. Decode 39. Further action to follow. 


Former Danish Co-Chairs Katarina Ammitzbøll and Uffe Elbæk, were both targeted in Denmark. They too were not informed that these were state-sponsored attacks.  Politiken.


Six Australian MP’s and Senators of IPAC released a joint statement announcing that they had been targeted in 2021, but not informed of the attack by the Australian agencies. The Nightly, ABC News. The Australian agencies have assured IPAC members that they will be informed of such targeting in the future. Cyber Daily Australia.


Co-Chairs Elisabet Lann and Joar Forsell MP revealed that they had discovered APT31 emails in their accounts subsequent to the unsealing of the US Indictment. SVT.

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