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Cyber security a never-ending battle: Unisys

When it comes to cyber security, everybody, not just Australia, is behind in this rapidly advancing area of technology, says John Kendall, director of border and national security programs at global IT company Unisys.

user iconReporter
Tue, 12 Jun 2018
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Speaking to Defence Connect at the CivSec 2018 national security exhibition in Melbourne in May, Mr Kendall said this was a battle that would never end.

“Pretty much everybody is behind right now,” he said.

“The technology is advancing very quickly and it's being exploited by the bad guys as quickly as it can be by the good guys.


“Australia certainly has a good cyber response team put together. They have a good strategy but the challenge is always going to be there. It's an evolving problem and it's not going to get any better anytime soon.”

Mr Kendall said much of the cyber security focus had been on external threats but most breaches actually occurred from the inside, either deliberately or inadvertently.

“They may have posted something on a website, or left it attached in an email, or put it on a thumb drive and left it on the bus or the train,” he said.

Mr Kendall said every time we evolved, so did the hackers.

“Whatever we evolve with or come up with, they're going to come up with some way of combating it. So the battle will never end,” he said.

Unisys is a big player in the national security space and the company showed off four key areas of technology at CivSec.

One is for biometrics and identify assurance, called Stealth Identity, which the company is implementing with the Department of Home Affairs.

The second is in analytics for border security targeting.

“This is using real time, large scale analytics to target both cargo and travellers coming into the country to determine which ones require further inspection or interviews,” Mr Kendall said.

Unisys is also working with police on a national criminal investigative system for major crimes. All UK police forces use this system.

Then there’s cyber security, a key theme of the conference.

“As we become more dependent on the technology we also become more vulnerable to cyber breaches,” he said.

Mr Kendall said in some areas of border protection, such as the airport e-gates, Australia was the best in the world.

“When you look at some of the other areas on the targeting systems and analytics Australia's still in its infancy but they certainly have a lot of attention they're putting into that,” he said.

“With the new Department of Home Affairs coming together you're going to see a lot more collaboration between police, ACIC (Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission) and then the former immigration and customs organisations as well. So it bodes well for the future.”

Mr Kendall said there were definitely things that Australia could teach the rest of the world and some new Unisys products were being developed out of Australia.

Biometrics rely on identification of face, fingerprints and iris today but medical technology, with implanted devices transmitting data on heart and brain activity, are an indication of where this could go.

“Think what that does for identity. I can monitor your heart rhythm, your brainwave activity, and be able to determine who you are based on that as opposed to what you look like on the outside,” he said.

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