updated 3/30/2011 9:19:12 AM ET 2011-03-30T13:19:12

The computer network of the European Parliament is under cyberattack, and experts say the same hackers that hit the European Union Commission last week and the French Finance Ministry last month may be behind this security breach.

A Parliament spokesperson confirmed that the attack began this morning (March 29), and told European Voice, “Information technology services are working day and night to investigate and have put in place some security measures,” including blocking email access via Web browsers.

The spokesperson said the attackers penetrated the Parliament’s network with the intention of “snooping around,” and added, “this is not a couple of teenage boys hacking into the [EU] institutions.”

In fact, the Parliament security breach shares characteristics with a highly sophisticated and skilled attack on March 23 that hit the European Commission and the European External Action Service, the executive and diplomatic bodies, respectively, of the Brussels-based European Union (EU).

That incident came one day prior to an EU summit in which leaders discussed the European-U.S. involvement in Libya, to which the Russian and Chinese are opposed. Security analysts believe the attack was launched by hackers possibly based in China.

Along with the EU attack, today’s European Parliament incident may also be tied to an attack on the French finance ministry, which resulted in the theft of sensitive documents relating to the G20, a group of finance ministers and banks from 19 countries plus the European Union.

In other high-profile hacking news, BBC reports that the parliamentary computer of Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard has been hacked, and that the attackers may have stolen thousands of emails from Gillard and at least 10 other ministers.

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