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Australia battling blitz in state-sponsored cyber attacks

The intensity and frequency of state-sponsored cyber attacks on individuals and organisations within Australia has been compared to a bombing raid.

user icon Charbel Kadib
Thu, 31 Mar 2022
Australia battling blitz in state-sponsored cyber attacks
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Speaking during Question Time on Wednesday (30 March), Minister for Defence Peter Dutton flagged the growing risks associated with a ramp-up in state-sponsored cyber attacks.

Minister Dutton said Iranian, North Korean, Russian and Chinese actors have been targeting Australian individuals and organisations “each day”.

“Whilst Australians may not see the activity online every day, our country is already under attack online,” he said.

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The minister noted the impact of cyber breaches on critical infrastructure in other jurisdictions, undermining water supply, energy and telecommunication networks.

He went on to reference remarks from the Commander of the UKs Strategic Command, General Sir Patrick Sanders, who has likened the prevalence of state-sponsored malicious cyber activity to an air raid.

“If this was an air war, it would be the Blitz …” General Sanders has said.

“… Unlike the Blitz, there’s no physical destruction [so] thankfully it’s bloodless but the intensity and the frequency of the attacks are on the same scale and if we let too many so-called bombers and their payloads through then it will sow the seeds of defeat.

“Not immediately, but slowly, insidiously, corrosively and inevitably.”

Minister Dutton added that a failure to invest in Australia’s cyber defences could have “catastrophic consequences”.

His remarks follow the release of the 2022-23 budget, in which the government announced Project REDSPICE (Resilience, Effects, Defence, Space, Intelligence, Cyber, and Enablers) – a $9.9 billion investment over the next decade in the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD).

The project aims to bolster the ASD’s offensive cyber capabilities and strengthen its detection and response network.

This is tipped to almost double the size of the agency, generating over 1,900 jobs.

“… Australians understand the investment that weve made into nuclear-propelled submarines, and the money were putting into tanks, additional staff within the Australian Defence Force, and additional fighter jets ...” Minister Dutton said.

“This is the latest instalment in our plan to keep Australians safe.”

[Related: Budget 2022-23 released, Defence strategy unveiled ]

Charbel Kadib

Charbel Kadib

News Editor – Defence and Security, Momentum Media

Prior to joining the defence and aerospace team in 2020, Charbel was news editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business, where he covered developments in the banking and financial services sector for three years. Charbel has a keen interest in geopolitics and international relations, graduating from the University of Notre Dame with a double major in politics and journalism. Charbel has also completed internships with The Australian Department of Communications and the Arts and public relations agency Fifty Acres

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