Extra $1.7b from Cmlth to beef up cyber security defences

The Federal Government will invest $1.67 billion over 10 years to bolster government, community, and business defences against cyber-attacks.

Federal Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton says well-equipped and persistent state-sponsored actors are targeting critical infrastructure and stealing Australian intellectual property.

In a foreword to the Government’s Cyber Security Strategy 2020 published last week, Mr Dutton said: “Cyber criminals are also doing great harm, infiltrating systems from anywhere in the world, stealing money, identities, and data from unsuspecting Australians.

“Working in partnership with owners of critical infrastructure, we will bolster protecting the critical systems on which all Australians depend.”  

State, territory and local governments are identified in the new strategy as “having an important role to play in ensuring their critical infrastructure and systems are not vulnerable to cyber intrusions”.

“Although Australia has been lucky to avoid a catastrophic cyber security incident, we are vulnerable to the cyber-attacks experienced elsewhere in the world,” the strategy says.

“The loss of an essential service like electricity, water or transport could have devastating impacts across Australia far beyond the targeted business.”  

The planned investment will go towards, among other things:

  • developing cyber security obligations for owners and operators;
  • developing new ways to investigate and shut down cybercrime;
  • stronger defences for government networks and data;
  • greater collaboration to build national cyber skills pipeline; and
  • increased situational awareness and improved sharing of threat information.

Development of the new strategy, which builds on the 2016 Cyber Security Strategy, began last September.

As part of its efforts to refresh enhance critical infrastructure security and resilience, the Federal Government this week published a new consultation paper, Protecting Critical Infrastructure and Systems of National Significance.

Consultation will run until 16 September.