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National strategy to strengthen cyber security

The Australian Government has laid out five key themes in its cyber security strategy to 2020, intending to strengthen Australia’s defences against threats and promote prosperity and growth.

The themes include maintaining a national cyber partnership between government and industry, improving the resilience of cyber defences, working globally to promote an open, free and secure

Internet, fostering growth and innovation, and addressing the shortage of skilled cyber security professionals.

The government’s plan, Australia’s Cyber Security Strategy, argues that strong cyber security is essential to national growth and prosperity in a global economy and is critical for national security.

The strategy acknowledges that increased connectivity means innovation and growth and that businesses need to be online to be competitive; however, this connectivity brings risks.

Australia has increasingly become a target for cybercrime and espionage. Of the private sectors, the energy industry is the most targeted, receiving 18 per cent of attacks, according to the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC).

The strategy aims to improve cyber security through 33 new initiatives, more than $230 million in Australian Government funding, and over 100 new jobs.

The government has invested $400 million over the next decade, including around 800 specialist jobs, for defence force cyber and intelligence capabilities.

The strategy intends to build on the strong cyber security in larger businesses, such as banks and telecommunications companies, that have strong cyber security capabilities.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the strategy set out the government’s philosophy and program for meeting the digital age challenges of advancing and protecting Australia’s online interests.

Mr Turnbull said, “We do not view our security and online freedoms as mutually exclusive. To the contrary, they reinforce each other.

“A secure cyberspace provides trust and confidence for individuals, business and the public sector to share ideas and information and to innovate online.

“There is no infrastructure more important to our future prosperity than an open, free and secure Internet. The security threats we face are real and they are growing in severity and frequency. Although we make advances in cyber security so do our adversaries.”

Mr Turnbull said the strategy addressed ways to maintain protection and to be more resilient to malicious cyber activity on an individual, company, governmental and national level.

“All of us – governments, businesses and individuals – need to work together to build resilience to cyber security threats and to make the most of opportunities online,” Mr Turnbull said.

Five themes of Australia’s Cyber Security Strategy

A national cyber partnership A partnership between government, researchers and business, including regular meetings to strengthen leadership and tackle emerging issues.
Strong cyber defences Strengthening defences to better detect, deter and respond to threats and anticipate risks.
Global responsibility and influence Working with international partners through a new Cyber Ambassador and other channels to champion a secure, open and free Internet while building regional cyber capacity to crack down on cyber criminals and shut safe havens for cybercrime.
Growth and innovation Helping Australian cyber security businesses to grow and prosper, nurturing home-grown expertise to generate jobs and growth.
A cyber smart nation Creating more Australian cyber security professionals by establishing Academic Centres of Cyber Security Excellence in universities and fostering skills throughout the education system.

Is your utility prepared to tackle the challenge of cyber security?

Our event, Secure Utilities, being held at the Rendezvous Hotel in Melbourne on 23 March 2017, will ensure you’re up to date with the latest thinking and technology to keep your assets and data safe.

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