by Bonnie Gardiner

Government launches $231.1M cyber security strategy

Apr 21, 2016

The Turnbull government on Thursday announced its long-awaited cyber security strategy, detailing 33 initiatives at a cost of $231.1 million over the next four years.

The five key elements of the government’s new Cyber Security Strategy include forming national cyber partnerships, strengthening cyber defences, Australia actively promoting an open, free and secure cyberspace, business growth through cyber security innovation, and a creating a cyber smart nation.

The five initiatives, which each include 2-3 priority actions, will be reviewed and updated annually to keep pace with changes in digital security priorities, as well as a complete review and update in 2020, the government said.

The new agenda follows an extensive Cyber Security Review led by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, which will lead its implementation through the new position of a Special Adviser on Cyber Security.

According to the department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, some actions are already underway and will be ongoing, while others are new and will be co-designed with stakeholders from the private sector, research community and international partners.

In encouraging improved cyber security culture among government and business, Turnbull cited the 2013 Snowden Leak in his key address at the Australian Technology Park in Sydney.

In addition to the growing sophistication and frequency of malware, Turnbull said there was the threat of ‘warmware’ – the ability of a trusted insider to cause massive disruption to a network or to use legitimate access to obtain classified material and then illegally disclose it.

“Technical solutions are important, but cultural change will be most effective in mitigating this form of cyber-attack,” the Prime Minister said.

“As businesses and governments, we must better educate and empower our employees to use sound practices online.”

The national cost of this strategy, paired with the funds allocated under the Defence White Paper to enhance cyber capabilities, the government will be investing around $632 million towards our national cyber security efforts.

Funding will cover a range of measures including establishing Joint Cyber Threat Centres to enable rapid sharing of critical threat information between sectors; additional resources for the Australian Cyber Security Centre to fight cybercrime and deal with other cyber threats; helping business to assess and develop their cyber security resilience; and to develop the cyber security skilled workforce of the future.

Commenting on the Cyber Security Strategy, Commonwealth Bank’s chief information security and trust officer, Ben Heyes, said this was an important step in creating a strong, secure and resilient modern economy.

“Technology is rapidly transforming economies around the world, creating new opportunities for growth and prosperity… with sustained focus on cyber security from government and industry, we can ensure Australians are confident and proficient users of digital services,” Heyes said.

“All of us – whether we’re in the private sector, working for the government or more broadly in the community – have a role to play to ensure the security of today’s modern economy. We are committed to contributing to a strong, secure and growing digital economy.”