What is the Government doing in cyber security?

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While much of Australia’s digital infrastructure is owned by the private sector, cyber security is a shared responsibility between governments, the private sector and individuals.

The Government is committed to driving Australia’s national cyber partnership effort to mitigate cyber security risks and to reduce any risk to Australia’s national security that result from large scale sophisticated cyber threats.

Below is a summary of major government work on cyber security; for a list of all government initiatives, refer to Australia’s Tech Future website.

Implementing the Cyber Security Strategy

In 2016, the Government released Australia’s Cyber Security Strategy to secure our prosperity in a connected world. The strategy includes investments of more than $230 million across five themes of action for the period up to 2020, these include:

  • national cyber partnership
  • stronger cyber defences
  • global responsibility and influence
  • growth and innovation
  • a cyber smart nation.

The Government’s recent review of the Cyber Security Strategy has found that two years in, significant progress has been made across its five pillars, and that Australia’s comprehensive approach to cyber security has yielded economy-wide benefits. Importantly, it has also found that as the world becomes more connected, online security also becomes more important. As such, securing Australia’s interests online will remain a priority.

The Academic Centres of Cyber Security Excellence (ACCSE) is one initiative under the Cyber Security Strategy. It aims to address the national shortage of highly-skilled cyber security professionals by encouraging more students to undertake studies in cyber security and related courses. The ACCSE program gives recognition to Australian universities that successfully demonstrate high-level cyber security education and training competencies, research capability and strong connections to government and the business sector. The Government is providing funding of $1.9 million over four years (2016-17 to 2019-20) shared equally between the University of Melbourne and Edith Cowan University to assist with establishment and operation of their ACCSE.

Implementing the International Cyber Engagement Strategy

International cyber issues present challenges and opportunities for all Australians, every day. Australia’s interests in cyberspace are diverse and interconnected: from capturing the economic prosperity promised by digital trade, to combating cybercrime and preserving peace in cyberspace. Australia’s International Cyber Engagement Strategy has seven key themes, outlining Australia’s plans to:

  • maximise opportunities for economic growth and prosperity through digital trade
  • foster good cyber security practices
  • reduce the risk of cybercrime
  • promote peace and stability in cyberspace
  • advocate for multi-stakeholder Internet governance
  • promote respect for human rights and democratic principles online
  • encourage the use of digital technologies to achieve sustainable development.

The global nature of cyberspace means Australia must engage internationally to advance and protect our shared interests in cyberspace. Australia’s international cyber engagement champions an open, free and secure Internet which drives economic growth, protects national security and fosters international stability.

Building domestic capability

To raise awareness of these risks in Australia and what to do about them, the Government has created the Cyber.gov.au portal. Cyber.gov.au links to simple, easy to understand advice on how individuals and businesses can protect themselves online, and shares up-to-date information on how to respond to the latest online threats. It also includes advice for big business, infrastructure and government. The Stay Smart Online portal assists with outreach and advice, but will soon be merged into Cyber.gov.au to form a one-stop-shop for cyber reporting, information and tailored advice.

Cyber security qualifications

To increase the number of skilled cyber security professionals, Box Hill Institute with industry support have developed two national cyber security qualifications: a Certificate IV in Cyber Security and an Advanced Diploma of Cyber Security. These are the first nationally-recognised cyber security vocational education qualifications in Australia.

The courses were developed with a range of industry partners, including ANZ Bank, BAE Systems, Cisco Australia and New Zealand, Commonwealth Bank, Deloitte, NBN Co, Telstra and the Australian Information Security Association.

Box Hill Institute delivered the first courses at its Melbourne campus in early 2018, with student numbers doubling at each intake. TAFEs across other states and territories have partnered with Box Hill Institute to deliver these qualifications. The increased availability of courses will provide students with highly sought-after skills and help bridge the cyber security skill gap.

Australia is also engaging with partners within the Indo-Pacific to align efforts and share best practice to ensure Australia remains at the forefront of technological innovation and cyber security.

Growing Australia’s cyber security industry

Good cyber security not only protects Australia’s existing economic assets, but also can create new ones.

Building greater local capacity would make Australia a trusted supplier in this rapidly growing industry. Thanks to Government support, the Australian Cyber Security Growth Network, or AustCyber, is making significant progress in this effort, including:

  • releasing its 2017 Sector Competitiveness Plan
  • establishing Cyber Security Innovation Nodes across Australia
  • working with stakeholders to develop Australia’s first national skills-based cyber security Certificate and Diploma level qualifications.

This work will contribute to positioning Australia as a trusted global leader in cyber security research, education, products and services.