by George Nott

Declassification drive to make gov cyber centre more useful to industry

Sep 14, 2016
Business ContinuityComplianceData Center

The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), led by the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), is working to declassify as much data as possible to make the centre more useful to industry and academia, says its chief.

“We’re actually looking to change the classification model of our business,” said Clive Lines, coordinator of the ACSC and deputy director of the ASD.

“At the moment everything’s pretty much highly classified. We’re looking at how much we can push down to a much lower classification, which will increase the opportunity to bring in academia and industry.”

Speaking yesterday at SINET61 in Sydney, Lines said more data would be available ahead of the centre’s relocation.

“That work is ongoing now and we’ll have it done well and truly in advance of moving to a new location.”

The ACSC, the joint responsibility of the Attorney-General and Minister for Defence, opened in 2014 tasked with raising cyber security capabilities across the Australian Government and sharing threat information.

The centre colocates cyber specialists from the Australian Crime Commission, Australian Federal Police, Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, Australian Signals Directorate, Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) Australia and the Defence Intelligence Organisation.

As part of the government’s Cyber Security Strategy, the centre is to be relocated from its current home within the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation’s Ben Chiefley building in Canberra to ‘a new more accessible location in Canberra that will make it easier for stakeholders to engage with’.

The aim is for ‘government and the private sector to work more effectively together’ in resisting cyber threats.

“National success in the cyber security space requires a combined approach between government, industry and academia,” said Lines. “There is no other way of solving this problem. No one organisation can do it in isolation. It has to be a combined effort.

“We are beginning to put the flesh on the bones of the strategy from a government perspective.”

Cyber tourism

Lines added that Australia was increasingly attractive as a source of security services to regional businesses and governments.

“If you run a new cyber security centre you have what we call cyber tourism. We’ve actually had a lot of regional countries come and visit us, also a lot of European countries.

“The region is looking to Australia for both education and services. In a post-Snowden environment they don’t want to buy it from the US and they don’t want to buy it from Europe because they don’t feel Europe services the region properly.

“There are always exceptions to that rule. But they’ve been absolutely adamant they want to collaborate with Australia, they want to buy services from Australia and they want to get education from Australia.”

He added that Australia was a “wonderful target for cyber actors” and that attacks were likely to increase as connectivity improved.

“I think we will see a lot more Denial of Service attacks. We are in the top ten for Ransomware. I think when the NBN happens we’re going to see a lot more DoS attacks in Australia,” Lines said.