Australian Ministers Are Targets in Telegram Phishing Scam

The Australian Federal Police said it’s investigating a phishing scam that targeted senior Australian ministers through the Telegram messaging app on their mobile phones.

The phishing campaign, which was first reported to authorities on March 18, “appears to be in the form of a message from an associate and encourages recipients to download a messaging app for further communication,” the Australian Federal Police said in a statement on Sunday. While it didn’t name the officials involved, on Monday Finance Minister Simon Birmingham said he had been targeted.

“‘The misuse of a messaging app falsely using the Minister’s name has been referred to the AFP,” Birmingham’s office said in an emailed statement. “The Minister does not have a Telegram account and appropriate security steps have been taken to secure his actual means of communication.”

A Sky News television broadcast reporter on Sunday tweeted that someone had been impersonating Birmingham in a Telegram account and sending messages to contacts. The police confirmed the activity on the account and that the country’s cyber-intelligence agency, Australian Signals Directorate, “has been involved,” the reporter said.

The Australian Signals Directorate declined to comment on Monday. Telegram didn’t immediately reply to a message sent on Sunday via its website.

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