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Cyber security and budget 2023–24: What you need to know

Even before the budget was handed down, scammers were taking advantage of possible cash handouts by sending out SMS phishing scams promising victims $750 from MyGov.

user icon David Hollingworth
Tue, 09 May 2023
Cyber security and budget 2023–24: What you need to know
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And while Minister Jim Chalmers didn’t have a lot to say in his speech regarding cyber security (dealing with cost-of-living pressures is rightly what the minister is focusing on), the budget papers do have some more detail on where the government is spending its money.

As part of the government’s commitment to “strengthening sovereignty and security in our region”, Labor is planning to create new opportunities for well-paid, highly skilled jobs to deliver “new expertise in science, engineering and cyber security”.

In particular, there’s $23.4 million to assist small businesses, with a plan to mitigate cyber attacks by “training in‑house cyber wardens”. This program will be administered by the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia.

In regard to “data and the digital economy”, the government plans to spend $2 billion on upgrading and modernising “outdated legacy platforms and IT systems”.

More importantly, the government has committed $86.5 million to create a National Anti‑Scam Centre (which may have been handy for anyone falling victim to the aforementioned budget scams) to help the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) fight scam websites. It will also establish the country’s first SMS Sender ID Registry, which is aimed at preventing scammers from impersonating established brands.

There’s also $44.3 million for the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner to assist in enforcing regulations and building up its data analytics capability. It will also help support the previously announced “standalone privacy commissioner”.

The government is also planning to expand Digital IDs. There’s $26.9 million over the 2023–24 period to help improve efficiency and protection on that front, as well as reduce fraud.

The budget delivers $88.8 million over two years to support the Consumer Data Right within supporting the “banking, energy, and the non‑bank lending sectors and deliver a cyber security uplift”.

Finally, there’s $101.2 million across five years for investment in quantum technologies and artificial intelligence (AI) development. The National AI Centre will also get some love as part of this, and the centre will also stand up an Australian Centre for Quantum Growth.

Cyber Security Connect is waiting on more reactions from the industry over the next 24 hours, but so far, Jeff Batten, former ADF officer and co-founder and chief executive of UBH Group, is pleased with the measures to assist small businesses.

“The small business cyber security initiative is a welcome one,” Batten told Cyber Security Connect via email. “To their business, their employees, and their stakeholders, cyber attacks can be devastating. However, these small businesses may also impact wider ecosystems where interconnectivity in supply chains can lead to flow-on effects to other organisations.”

“The initiative may be strengthened by seeking to build cyber resilience into the culture and ways of working for these small businesses,” Batten said.

“It is also important as part of a more holistic approach to protect sensitive data, minimise financial loss, avoid reputational damage, and ensure compliance with relevant policy and legal safeguards.

“At a national level, improving small businesses’ defences against cyber threats increases the overall resilience of the national economy, strengthens supply chains, and ensures that Australia as a nation is not seen as a ‘soft target’ by international criminal syndicates or rival states/rogue nations.”

And that is it for cyber-related investment from the 2023 budget. We’ll hopefully have more industry reactions tomorrow.

David Hollingworth

David Hollingworth

David Hollingworth has been writing about technology for over 20 years, and has worked for a range of print and online titles in his career. He is enjoying getting to grips with cyber security, especially when it lets him talk about Lego.

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