Australia sites hacked amid spying row with Indonesia

File photo: Anonymous activists
Image caption A member of Anonymous Indonesia said the group carried out the cyber attacks

Hackers have attacked the websites of the Australian police and Reserve Bank amid an ongoing row over reports Canberra spied on Jakarta officials.

The row has heightened diplomatic tensions between the allies and sparked protests in Indonesia.

Indonesia has suspended military co-operation with Australia and recalled its ambassador over the allegations.

A top Australian adviser has also come under fire for several tweets critical of Indonesia's handling of the row.

Reports of the spying allegations came out in Australian media from documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The leaked documents showed that Australian spy agencies named Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the first lady, the vice-president and other senior ministers as targets for telephone monitoring, Australian media said.

The alleged spying took place in 2009, under the previous Australian government.

"It is not possible that we can continue our co-operation when we are still uncertain that there is no spying towards us," Mr Yudhoyono said on Wednesday.

He added he would also write to Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott to seek an official explanation over spying allegations.

Mr Abbot has said he regretted the embarrassment the media reports have caused.

However, he also said that he does not believe Australia "should be expected to apologise for reasonable intelligence-gathering operations".

Cyber attacks

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Australia's Reserve Bank confirmed that their sites were victims of a cyber attack on Wednesday night.

"We have had an attack on the open source website," AFP Commissioner Tony Negus said. "I am not sure who is the perpetrator but we are investigating that."

Image caption The leaked documents named both Mr Yudhoyono and his wife as targets for monitoring

Australian police said that the site was "not connected to secret networks" and no sensitive information had been compromised.

"These attacks are irresponsible, and will not influence government policy," the police added in a statement.

The Reserve Bank also said its website was "the subject of a denial of service attack".

"The bank has protections for its website, so the bank website remains secure," a spokesman added.

Australian media identified a Twitter user who described herself as a member of Anonymous Indonesia and appeared to claim responsibility for the attack.

The user wrote: "I am ready for this war!" and said she would conduct further attacks unless there was an apology from the Australian government for the alleged spying.

Twitter outburst

Meanwhile, Mark Textor, a campaign strategist who advised Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's Liberal Party came under fire for a series of provocative tweets that criticised Indonesia's handling of the spying row.

Mr Textor wrote in a Twitter post: "Apology demanded from Australia by a bloke who looks like a 1970's Pilipino [sic] porn star and has ethics to match". The tweet has since been deleted.

Australian media widely reported that he was referring to Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, who has called for an apology from Australia over the spying claims.

Image caption Mr Abbott has said that Australia should not apologise for "reasonable intelligence-gathering operations"

Mr Textor also appeared to criticise Mr Yudhoyono's use of Twitter to express his anger at Australia.

His tweets were criticised by opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek, who described them as "highly inappropriate comments".

However, Liberal Party MP Steve Ciobo said Mark Textor was "a private citizen" and that the comments were "made in a private capacity".

On Thursday, Mr Textor wrote: "Apologies to my Indonesian friends - frustrated by media-driven divisions - Twitter is indeed no place for diplomacy."

He told broadcaster ABC that he was "not referring to anyone in particular" in his earlier tweet.