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The Australian government is to conduct its first review into the country’s cybersecurity since 2008, ABC Australia reports.
Prime minister Tony Abbott made the announcement at the opening of the new Cyber Security Center in Canberra, where he stated that the first review in six years was due given the fast moving nature of cyber threats, saying, “in this area that is several lifetimes.”
The panel conducting the review includes Business Council of Australia CEO Jennifer Westalott, Telstra CISO Mike Burgess, Australian Strategic Policy Institute cyber policy director Tobias Feakin and Cisco’s US chief security officer John Stewart.
The panel has six months to “explore how industry and the government can work together to make our online systems more resilient against attacks,” reports The Register.
ZDNet reports that the Australian Signals Directorate “responded to 940 ‘cyber incidents’ involving government agencies” in the last year – up 37 percent on the previous 12 months. Cybercrime in Australia is estimated to cost the country over AU$1 billion (around $850 million in US currency.)
During an interview on The World Today, ABC reporter Naomi Woodley explained the thinking behind the review as the country trying to stay ahead of threats: “Mr Abbott says as more and more of us conduct more and more of our lives online – if you think about the credit card information, the addresses, dates of birth, personal information you might send out to the virtual world almost every day – Tony Abbott says the actual physical security of all of that data and information and the IT network it travels on is critical to the way Australians go about their daily lives.”
Speaking to CNET, the general manager for cybersecurity and privacy at Australia’s largest bank, Ben Heyes, welcomed the announcement, stating, “This is great news; it is fantastic to see the government recognize this as being a key issue and commence this process to do this review.”
“The financial system is reasonably secure, but if you look at what has happened in the last few years between the last time the strategy was looked at and today, what we have seen is an ongoing increase in the cyberthreat from nation states, criminal groups, and politically motivated hacktivists,” he added.
Author Alan Martin, ESET